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Still Alice (2007)

by Lisa Genova

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6,0064331,449 (4.23)384
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)
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English (416)  Dutch (6)  Finnish (3)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Latvian (1)  All languages (430)
Showing 1-5 of 416 (next | show all)
Genova's telling of this story from the Alzheimer patient's point of view is brilliant. The reader follows Alice's thoughts as they become more and more convoluted, then learns exactly how skewed her perception of reality has become when other characters reveal the truth or when Alice herself has heartbreaking moments of clarity -- it's the ultimate "show, don't tell." Very, very sad but very, very good. ( )
  AuntieG0412 | Jan 23, 2023 |
A novel about Alice, a successful Harvard linguistics professor who, at the age of fifty, begins to show signs of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The story follows her descent into the disease and the effect it has on both her and her family. Told from her point of view, the reader gets a heartbreaking and terrifying look at what it's like to lose yourself bit by bit to this condition. Recommended. ( )
  electrascaife | Jan 10, 2023 |
Very powerful read that doesn't go for the easy tugs on the heartstrings that it could have.

I love the way the author writes the progression of Alice's disease. Incredibly effective.

I'd go 4.5 because of the narration but rounding up because the story is fantastic and so well done. ( )
  amcheri | Jan 5, 2023 |
I chose this book based on its subject matter, and that ended up being the only thing I really liked about the book. I felt it could have done so much more though with such a complex subject matter as Alzheimer's Disease since it heavily impacts not only those who have it but their friends and family as well.



The main character to me lacked a lot of humanness; she seemed to be composed of only her work and the prestige or 'respect' she believes it came with. I felt no connection between her and her husband, he might as well have been one of her children, which her relationships with were completely two dimensional. The only character I felt anything towards was Dan from the AD group who at least seemed sort of real.



Her biggest fear and what upset her the most was other people thinking her to be 'stupid' and not giving her opinions the 'respect a Harvard professor deserves' - her intellect and her standing as a professor seemed to be all that mattered, even after being diagnosed. She spent a large portion of the beginning trying to maintain her employment position rather than spending that time with her family or actually living in the world and experiencing it.



The writing was basic and at times felt more like non-fiction than fiction, there was no story-telling flair to it. This book had about as much emotion as a slab of concrete. ( )
  spiritedstardust | Dec 29, 2022 |
I wish there was an alternate part of the book to show the lives of people surrounding her what would have happened if "butterfly" went into effect. I think the movie skipped crucial parts like Dan, the support group, and the healing of a mother and daughter. It is sad but beautiful that it took a disease to bring them closer in this case but sometimes life has a funny way of working out. I do not know enough about my family to say if I could have certain ailments or not but I ask and hope to see a geneoligist when I am having kids for my and their sake. I learned a lot but their is still more to learn. I loved how she struggled and those around her hurt and suffered to because that is raw...real life. What she like and her honesty deveolped into a pureness not many healthy or afflicted can produce. In the end even as we suffer and die we are "still" us. In our flaws and brilliance. Lydia is my favorite character and Alice's father my least favorite though he was not a main character or alive he played a main part in blame, pain, and case by case. I wish we did find out who had the genes of alice relatives/parents. I like lydia would not want to know I would just ensure my children would not have it. I always say I rather die on my own than cause someone to die with me. I deeply enjoyed this book. Very thought provoking. ( )
  Lavender3 | Dec 21, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 416 (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.
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.
Dedication
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.
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.
The beginning of spring in Cambridge was an untrustworthy and ugly liar.
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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.

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