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Still Alice by Lisa Genova
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Still Alice (original 2007; edition 2009)

by Lisa Genova

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5,1264051,394 (4.23)367
Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer's disease.… (more)
Member:ohlonelibrary
Title:Still Alice
Authors:Lisa Genova
Info:Gallery Books (2009), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 292 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:Newark Center

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Still Alice: A Novel by Lisa Genova (2007)

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Showing 1-5 of 389 (next | show all)
This book gives A really good insight into the effects of Early Onset Alzheimer's from the sufferers perspective
It is well written and researched, however, I was disappointed with the ending and would have liked more closure. As it was written from Alice's perspective, I realise that the book ended at the point where she could no longer give her perspective
It is also a bit of a tear jerker
( )
  karenshann | Dec 31, 2019 |
Alice Howland is a brilliant and successful scientist with three children... until she starts experiencing unexplained memory lapses and moments of disorientation, receives a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer's, and begins an all-too-rapid slide into dementia.

By its very nature, this book has moments of genuine, painful poignancy. And it's clearly very carefully researched and feels extremely realistic. But the writing is... Well, the admittedly rather unkind word I want to use is "pedestrian," and the dialog often seems a bit stilted and cliched. Honestly, several times while reading it, I found myself thinking that perhaps it felt less like a novel and more like a public service announcement, or the sort of dramatized example story you might get in an informative pamphlet. (A high-quality pamphlet. But still.) It also suffers a lot by comparison with Emma Healey's fantastic Elizabeth is Missing, which I read earlier this year and which is also told from the viewpoint of someone with dementia. Which is inevitable and probably unfair, as that one is a very tough act to follow.

It does finish very strong, though, which impressed me. This is surely the kind of story it's hard to put a good ending on, because it's never going to be able to have a happy one. But Genova does make it work, makes it moving, and makes it, somehow, affirming even as it's depressing.

Rating: I'm giving this a 3.5/5. For most of it, I was figuring it'd get a 3/5, but it definitely deserves the extra half star for sticking a difficult landing at the end. ( )
2 vote bragan | Dec 21, 2019 |
Did you know this book was originally self-published? It deserves 5 stars plus. I’m convinced. This book will convince you, this disease must be conquered. Read this book, when you are emotionally prepared. It is gentle and thoughtful but heart-rending. A must read for anyone who loves anyone. ( )
1 vote KarenMonsen | Nov 13, 2019 |
I literally couldn't put this book down. What a fascinating glimpse into Alzheimer's from the perspective of the person who has it. It gave me much more understanding into the behaviour of my grandmother, who is in the midst of her struggle. I could not recommend this book more. ( )
  carliwi | Sep 23, 2019 |
Wow, a very powerful, if sad, book. It will be wonderful for book club next week. ( )
  LizBurkhart | Sep 5, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 389 (next | show all)
When looking for a publisher for this story, Genova was often told that it would only appeal to the Alzheimer's community. So, she self-published and self-marketed. Word of mouth spread about the universal appeal of Still Alice, and she gained an agent, a publisher, a top-10 spot on The New York Times and Globe and Mail bestseller lists, and some high praise for her compassionate page-turner. It's well deserved.
 
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Epigraph
Even then, more than a year earlier, there were neurons in her head, not far from her ears, that were being strangled to death, too quietly for her to hear them. Some would argue that things were going so insidiously wrong that the neurons themselves initiated events that would lead to their own destruction. Whether it was molecular murder or cellular suicide, they were unable to warn her of what was happening before they died.
The well-being if a neuron depends on its ability to communicate with other neurons. Studies have shown that electrical and chemical stimulation from both a neuron's inputs and its targets support vital cellular processes. Neurons unable to connect effectively with other neurons atrophy. Useless, an abandoned neuron will die.
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In Memory of Angie
For Alena
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Alice sat at her desk in their bedroom distracted by the sounds of John racing though each of the rooms on the first floor.
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Even then, more than a year earlier, there were neurons in her head, not far from her ears, that were being strangled to death, too quietly for her to hear them. Some would argue that things were going so insidiously wrong that the neurons themselves initiated events that would lead to their own destruction. Whether it was molecular murder or cellular suicide, they were unable to warn her of what was happening before they died.
The beginning of spring in Cambridge was an untrustworthy and ugly liar.
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