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Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still Alice (original 2007; edition 2009)

by Lisa Genova

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3,0892591,834 (4.25)276
Title:Still Alice
Authors:Lisa Genova
Info:Pocket Books (2009), Edition: 1st Thus., Paperback, 292 pages
Collections:Your library

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Still Alice by Lisa Genova (2007)

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This was an excellent book that really gave you a picture of what it may be like to have Alzheimer's. I did not like her husband John. I found him to be self-serving. Her children were awesome, caring, compassionate. I really felt for Alice throughout the whole story. I pray that I keep all my faculties as I age. I worked Hospice for six years and this disease is so debilitating. ( )
  bwhitner | Dec 8, 2014 |
This is a very thought provoking book. I read it quite a while ago, so there won't be many details here in this review, but I remember it as the story of one woman's incredibly moving journey through the maze that is early onset Alzheimers'. A brilliant and successful, albeit ruthless, academician, Alice becomes 'lost' one day in the familiar landscape of Boston. Diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, the book takes us on her journey, painful as it is, as the disease progresses. This is an outstanding book and I recommend it most highly. ( )
  splatland | Dec 6, 2014 |
A poignant and moving novel, Still Alice is the story of a Alice Howland, a fifty year old wife, mother and renowned linguistics professor at Harvard University. She is gratified by her professional success, content in her marriage and while she has some doubts about the ambitions of her youngest daughter, Alice is proud of her three children. When Alice begins to experience memory lapses she feels they are readily explained by the combined effects of her busy, often stressful, lifestyle and the approach of menopause, until one morning when she becomes disorientated during her daily run. Diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, Alice’s professional and personal life begins to unravel as her mind deteriorates.

What ensures that Still Alice is so affecting is that it is told from Alice’s perspective. As the story unfolds, Alice desperately tries to hold on to her sense of self. Her occasional memory lapses slowly become more frequent, at times Alice is heartbreakingly aware of her deterioration, at others she is blissfully ignorant. The shifts between lucidity and disorientation are skilfully written illustrating the terrible toll the disease takes.

“I often fear tomorrow. What if I wake up and don’t know who my husband is? What if I don’t know where I am or recognize myself in the mirror? When will I no longer be me? Is the part of my brain that’s responsible for my unique ‘meness’ vulnerable to this disease? Or is my identity something that transcends neurons, proteins, and defective molecules of DNA? Is my soul and spirit immune to the ravages of Alzheimer’s? I believe it is.”

I have never given much thought to the idea that I could be risk at developing Alzheimer’s. My grandfather was in the disease’s early stages when he passed. In the moments when his mind slipped away he forgot that his wife of 63 years, my grandmother, had died two years earlier and it was heartbreaking to witness his fresh grief each time we had to remind him. As far as I know there was never any genetic testing done while he was alive but the possibilities are terrifying.

Still Alice was originally self published by Lisa Genova, a Harvard trained Neuroscientist, and Meisner-trained actress. It was eventually bought at auction by Simon & Schuster US and has since won numerous awards, been translated into more than 25 languages and has been adapted for film, due for release in January 2015 (starring Julianne Moore, Kirsten Stewart, Alec Baldwin and Kate Bosworth) ( )
  shelleyraec | Dec 2, 2014 |
This book was our latest selection for my book club and I think it was one that was mutually enjoyed and one that we found quite interesting.

Set in Cambridge, Massachusetts it is the story of Alice Howland who is a highly intelligent and esteemed Harvard professor in the field of linguistics. Just turning 50 she is diagnosed with early Alzheimer's disease. Written in the first person we witness first hand how frustrating and frightening daily life could be having this disease.

The author brilliantly takes us through the tests Alice must perform at her appointments and the decisions she struggles with in telling her family and colleagues. Each of her three grown children react differently. When they realize they have the choice of being tested themselves to find out if they carry the gene, they consider whether they want to know if they too will face the same fate as their mother. Her husband, a cancer researcher, copes with his wife's news in his own way.

I found this book to be both heartbreaking and fascinating. Never reading anything that touched significantly on the subject of Alzheimer's I appreciated gaining both knowledge and a bit of insight of this disease. ( )
  missjomarch | Nov 29, 2014 |
As a lot of us are approaching or are in the baby boomer era, Alzheimer’s is a real subject which we cannot run or hide from. We worry for our parents as well as ourselves. Genova does a great job in tackling real subjects and dives into telling the real facts. It is hard to comprehend what actually goes on in the lives of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, especially when they have been so independent and intelligent most of their lives.

You can feel the frustration and forgetfulness and being shut out in the book. I agree with some of the other reviews, it was taking on a bit of a medical journal feel instead of fiction; however, assume some of this was needed in order to tell the story realistically. John definitely avoided the disease; however, I have a sister who cares for an Alzheimer’s patients so get all the low down (which they can be funny) sometimes, and really hard with personal hygiene, and especially the struggles with their spouses and family. ( )
  JudithDCollins | Nov 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 246 (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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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.
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.
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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:05 -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.

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