HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Loading...

Still Alice (original 2007; edition 2009)

by Lisa Genova

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,2862731,666 (4.23)288
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)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 288 mentions

English (260)  Dutch (7)  Finnish (2)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (272)
Showing 1-5 of 260 (next | show all)
"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."

Still Alice is the psychological portrait of Alice Howland, a successful and brilliant cognitive psychology professor at Harvard. At 50 years of age, Alice is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Early-onset Alzheimer's affects approximately 200,000 in the United States and can produce symptoms in people as young as 30.

The narrator tells the story from Alice's perspective. We follow Alice's life from September 2003 to September 2005, each chapter representing a month. It covers a full spectrum of topics: the anxiety of realizing something is wrong, the denial, the frequent testing and the struggles of managing life after diagnosis. In the first chapter, Alice is running her usual route through Harvard Square when she suddenly can't remember how to get home. She recognizes the landmarks, but she can't piece it all together and comprehend a way forward. The moment was fleeting, but absolutely terrifying. After diagnosis, it is heartbreaking when Alice realizes that her time left as "herself" is limited and how her priorities have changed due to this new awareness. The author makes you feel so happy for Alice when she had a minor success and then pulls the rug out from under you a few paragraphs later. The highs and lows are part of the disease and the high points slowly get overtaken by the low points.

While the story was predominately about Alice and not the family, the author also showed how each family member deals with the situation differently. Her husband's portrayal can seem a little unsympathetic, but I can understand the frustrations of seeing someone you love deteriorate before your eyes and having a difficult time witnessing it.

"The words, the information, the meaning in the woman’s questions and in Alice’s own answers were like soap bubbles, the kind children blew out of those little plastic wands, on a windy day. They drifted away from her quickly and in dizzying directions, requiring enormous strain and concentration to track. And even if she managed to actually hold a number of them in her sight for some promising duration, it was invariably too soon that pop! they were gone, burst without obvious cause into oblivion, as if they’d never existed."

The author Lisa Genova graduated from Harvard with a Ph.D in neuroscience and obviously has an enormous amount of passion for her subject. She writes Alice's story with compassion and empathy. There are only a few info dumps where you could hear the voice of the Ph.D author, a couple of which made it seem like the whole book was an extended pamphlet for Dementia Advocacy and Support Network International. Great organization, but I think the references could have been integrated more naturally and the web addresses could have been included in the postscript instead of dialogue. These instances are disrupt the flow, but do not overwhelm Alice's story.

Still Alice is one of the most terrifying books I have ever read. We've all had instances where the word we want to use is at the tip of our tongue, but remains just outside of our mental grasp. Most of us have been in the situation where we go to a room with a specific goal, but have forgotten that goal by the time we arrive at the entryway. The memory usually comes back later, sometimes within seconds. But what if those brief memory lapses were a sign of something insidious lurking deep in the recesses of the brain? What if those memory lapses started taking over your life? What if your memories were permanently destroyed, one by one? What if the destruction of memories wasn't limited to the mundane, but also affected your most precious memories and threatened to destroy your connection to your loved ones? Who are we without our memories?

“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 ‘me-ness’ 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."

The book also mentions genetic testing. I am not sure what I would want! It is such a difficult situation. The situation gets more murky if you want to start a family. Would you still have biological children if they had a 50% chance of getting an Alzheimer's gene?

“My yesterdays are disappearing, and my tomorrows are uncertain, so what do I live for? I live for each day. I live in the moment. Some tomorrow soon, I'll forget that I stood before you and gave this speech. But just because I'll forget it some tomorrow doesn't mean that I didn't live every second of it today. I will forget today, but that doesn't mean that today didn't matter."

This is a must read for caretakers and family members of those with dementia. Still Alice gave me greater insight into the mind of someone with dementia. It is so easy to get frustrated with someone who can't think as fast as you do or is not able to operate within their previous set of capabilities, but it is frustrating, alienating and scary for them too! There were a few mentions about how on good days people might assume there is nothing wrong or maybe the bad days were just dramatics. I hear this from people with auto-immune disorders as well. This book explains that while there are good days, the disease is still lurking, barely submerged and waiting to attack again. I also have a better grasp on the importance of funding for Alzheimer's research.

I am a total sucker for medical fiction and non-fiction and I think this was a really good and thoughtful book. If you like this book, you might also like Brain on Fire or Me Before You. ( )
  tbritny | Apr 17, 2015 |
It's not easy for me to honest here, because it means not being kind. But I didn't particularly like the characters, and I didn't understand why some of them became kinder and some didn't. The whole book was a bit shallow, a bit bestseller-ish.

But still I don't regret reading it. It was enlightening to feel as if I was inside Alice's head, seeing just exactly what kind of degradation was occurring. And the ending was good - it didn't leave me depressed, but there was no deus ex machina, either. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
An intimate view into the effects of Alzheimer's Disease through the eyes of one diagnosed. How one deals with daily changes, moments of clarity and realization of what is taking place, and what is to come. ( )
  Moakey | Apr 9, 2015 |
Excellent read. It was really fascinating to have Alice voice the events from her point of view- what's happening in her world- not what's being noticed by those around her. It was a heartbreaking chronical of the progressive deterioration of a loved one with Alzheimer's Disease. ( )
  amyshaff | Mar 25, 2015 |
I wasn't interested in the movie adaptation (i'm hot/cold about Julianne Moore and this film is of no interest to me), so i decided to give this book a go as i'd heard some good reviews. Unfortunately I couldn't identify or sympathise with any of the characters, and i found the prose uninspiring and tedious. In the end this book just wasn't my bag.
  aiturnizzle | Mar 11, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 260 (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.
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
20 avail.
472 wanted
8 pay15 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.23)
0.5 2
1 5
1.5 2
2 12
2.5 12
3 134
3.5 53
4 435
4.5 108
5 463

Audible.com

3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Hyperion and Voice

An edition of this book was published by Hyperion and Voice.

» Publisher information page

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 96,564,941 books! | Top bar: Always visible