Thursday, January 8, 2015

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still AliceAlice Howland—Harvard professor, gifted researcher, and lecturer, wife, and mother of three grown children—sets out for a run and soon realizes she has no idea how to find her way home. She has taken the route for years, but nothing looks familiar. She is utterly lost. Medical consults reveal early-onset Alzheimer's.

Alice slowly but inevitably loses memory and connection with reality, as told from her perspective. She gradually loses the ability to follow a conversational thread, the story line of a book, or to recall information she heard just moments before. Genova's debut shows the disease progression through the reactions of others, as Alice does, so readers feel what she feels: a slowly building terror.

A harrowing look at early-onset Alzheimer’s, this novel is one of those books that stays with readers for a long time. 

The subject matter is tough. This is not a book to read expecting a happy ending, but it is highly rewarding in its own right. One of the best things about the novel is that the author chose to tell it through Alice’s point of view. Even though it is in third person, we see everything through her eyes, which slowly become more and more flawed as her brain starts malfunctioning. Alice is an unwitting unreliable narrator that gives the plot its momentum. 

The writing is well planned, with great moments of repetition that mimic what Alice is experiencing. I do wish that the subject of suicide had been touched on a bit more. John, Alice’s husband, is flawed and wholly real, making it very difficult for the reader to not sympathize with him, even when he is acting selfishly or in ways we don’t quite understand. The rest of the characters all provide great foils for Alice, making each one vital to the story. 

This is a book that I will be recommending quite a bit. If you haven’t read it, do so before the movie comes out!


Cynthia said...

I heard about that movie, but I hadn't read the book. I will check it out now. Thanks!

Sara In Bookland said...

Such a coincidence ! I've never heard of this book until today, when I saw the title on a list of "21 books you MUST read before the movie comes out". Just reading the summary I found it brilliant ! I'm so glad you liked it and I can't wait to put my fingers on it ^^

Thanks for sharing
Sara @ Sara In Bookland