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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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3,7323261,394 (4.22)309
Member:Brenda63
Title:Still Alice
Authors:Lisa Genova
Info:Pocket Books (2009), Edition: 1st Thus., Paperback, 292 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

Still Alice by Lisa Genova (2007)

  1. 20
    Awakenings by Oliver Sacks (dreamydress48)
  2. 10
    25 Months: A Memoir by Linda McK. Stewart (meggyweg)
  3. 10
    Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me by Sarah Leavitt (TransatlanticAgency)
  4. 10
    Rough Music by Patrick Gale (LynnB)
  5. 00
    Lost: A Novel by Alice Lichtenstein (dara85)
  6. 00
    Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Unlike the psychologically suspenseful mystery Turn of Mind, Still Alice is mainstream fiction. Despite differences in plot, genre, and feel, both sensitively portray the disorientation and disintegrating memory of Alzheimer's patients.… (more)
  7. 11
    The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Both books deal with Alzheimer's Disease in a compassionate way.
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    Measure of the Heart: A Father's Alzheimer's, A Daughter's Return by Mary Ellen Geist (Mareofthesea)
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    The Forgetting: Alzheimer's: Portrait of an Epidemic by David Shenk (kathrynnd)
  10. 00
    When It Gets Dark: An Enlightened Reflection on Life with Alzheimer's by Thomas DeBaggio (Mareofthesea)
  11. 01
    Kalila by Rosemary Nixon (ShelfMonkey)
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    The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (Deesirings)
    Deesirings: Both these books offer poignant descriptions of being within a mind-altering disease.
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Showing 1-5 of 307 (next | show all)
I was so nervous to start this book. My Dad was diagnosed two years ago and I'm having a harder and harder time with it. I gave myself permission to give up and quit reading at any time. But the author obviously did her research - the doctor's office visits, the testing, the questions asked - exactly what my family has experienced. And yet, reading this, as it comes from Alice's perspective, gave me insight into what my Dad may think and feel. These important insights made reading it hard, brought on a lot of tears, but also felt important for his sake. Just in case. Probably the most important fiction I've read in a long time. ( )
  bjoelle5 | Feb 6, 2016 |
This is a challenging book, especially challenging to pull off the shelf and read, because we know it's about a woman who discovers she has Alzheimer's...at the early age of 50. We are challenged to imagine our lives if we had Alzheimer's and it challenges what we think we know about Alzheimer's. It is a worthy topic to be forced to face in print, as many of us have had to face in real life; I loved that the experience was seen through the eyes of the Alzheimer's victim (and that Lisa Genova did extensive research into early onset victims, their experiences, and Alzheimer's in general).

I was surprised about a lot of things, especially Alice's moments of clarity. Yet when I think about people I've known with dementia or Alzheimer's, they too had moments of clarity when they sprinkled in lovely bits of wisdom and understanding. It was scary to think how much they could be aware of, especially during the onset, that they couldn't express with language. Of course, this book is a powerful reminder of the power of love, and how it can be felt even when not expressed in the usual way (as well as how its lack can be felt). It is not, surprisingly, just a dreary book.

By the way, I would not recommend the audio version by the author. I started with that and was initially put off by Alice's somewhat condescending manner, but I didn't experience any thing off-putting once I started reading in print. That is partly the story line as well, I think[/]. 4.5 stars (I much preferred the last two-thirds of the book.)
  Connie-D | Feb 5, 2016 |
I am a very emotional TV and movie viewer. If there is an advert about babies or love or puppies I am easily a goner – tears streaming down my face. This trait does not usually carry through to novels though. Yes, I am emotionally involved with the characters and their ups and downs, but it takes very special writing to reduce me to tears. I cried while reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova.

Alice Howland is a very successful and respected professor of psychology and linguistics at Harvard University. She leads a full and happy life with her scientist husband and three grown up children. But Alice is beginning to notice worrying changes. She forgets words, becomes disorientated in her own town and forgets about scheduled meetings and conferences. When she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease her perfect world rapidly and irreversibly alters.

I couldn’t put this book down. Although it dealt with an awful and inevitable disease, it read like a thriller. Lisa Genova drew me into the Howland family, I felt as though I was on the journey with Alice. When she went for her memory test, I tested my own memory; when her thoughts further declined, I felt her despair; and in her moments of triumph, I felt emotional (teary) joy!

I could also see how difficult it was for Alice’s family (especially her husband) to watch her rapid decline. I empathise with anyone going through this, or who has a loved one with this disease.

The movie, starring Julianne Moore and Kristen Stewart, will be released later this year. I have no doubt that I will be bawling like a baby throughout the 100 minutes.

This is a truly beautiful and life-affirming story. Read it.
( )
  tashlyn88 | Feb 5, 2016 |
Narrated by the author. Powerful and informative. I didn't know much about the trajectory of Alzheimer's disease but after listening to this novel, I have a greater understanding and empathy for those with the disease and the loved ones it affects. It's sad to witness Alice's spiral but there is a sense of hope in her story, too. Genova wasn't the best person to record her own book however. Alice's story needs a mature voice and Genova sounds much more suited to narrating a young adult novel. Her delivery is also emotionally flat, at odds with the varied and strong emotions expressed. But it's a testament to the richness of the story that I kept listening, compelled to accompany Alice on her lonely journey. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
The topic is certainly timely. Mental disease and illness is so prominent yet considered so negatively in society. The book touches on the difficulty of identifying workplace incompetence and personal destruction through substance abuse vs the development of incapacitating illness. This book dealt with early onset and a rapidly progressing disease. Alice had the funds and support system to function to her maximum. I would like to have seen the book offer some deeper perspective on those families without the funds and training to deal with long term care. I would recommend anyone interested in the topic to read the book. ( )
  Itzey | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 307 (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.
Dedication
In Memory of Angie
For Alena
First words
Alice sat at her desk in their bedroom distracted by the sounds of John racing though each of the rooms on the first floor.
Quotations
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Do not combine the movie with the book
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0595440096, Paperback)

"Powerful, insightful, tragic, inspirational…and all too true." Alireza Atri, Massachusetts General Hospital Neurologist

“Readers…are artfully and realistically led through…a window into what to expect, highlighting the importance of allowing the person with the disease to remain a vibrant and contributing member of the community…" Peter Reed, PhD, Director of Programs, National Alzheimer's Association

“With grace and compassion, Lisa Genova writes about the enormous white emptiness created by Alzheimer’s in the mind of the still-too-young and active Alice. A kind of ominous suspense attends her gathering forgetfulness, and Genova puts us, sympathetically, right inside her plight. Somehow, too, she portrays the family’s response as a loving one, and hints at the other hopeful, helpful response that science will eventually provide.” Mopsy Kennedy, Improper Bostonian

"An intensely intimate portrait of Alzheimer's seasoned with highly accurate and useful information about this insidious and devastating disease." Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi, co-author, Decoding Darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer's Disease

“Her (Alice's) thought patterns are so eerily like my own...amazing. It was like being in my own head and like being in hers.” James Smith, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, age 45

“...something for the world to read.” Jeanne Lee, author of Just Love Me: My Life Turned Upside-Down By Alzheimer’s

“A laser-precise light into the lives of people with dementia and the people who love them.” Carole Mulliken, Co-Founder of DementiaUSA

"A work of pure genius. This is the book that I and many of my colleagues have anxiously awaited. The reader will journey down Dementia Road in a way that only those of us with Dementia have experienced. Until now." Charley Schneider, author of Don't Bury Me, It Ain't Over Yet

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:41 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Feeling at the top of her game when she is suddenly diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease, Harvard psychologist Alice Howland struggles to find meaning and purpose in her life as her concept of self gradually slips away.

(summary from another edition)

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