Review: Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Title: Still Alice

Author: Lisa Genova

Published: Simon & Schuster AU: December 2014 (Reprint)

Read an extract

Status: Read from November 27 to 29, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

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).

Still Alice is available to purchase from

Simon & Schuster AU Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Bookworld I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US I BookDepository

and all good bookstores.

****

 

 

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lily Malone
    Dec 02, 2014 @ 17:49:59

    My mum asked for this for Christmas, Shelleyrae. Perfect timing to see your review.

    Like

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  2. Deborah
    Dec 02, 2014 @ 23:57:25

    I thought I’d read this but now I’m not sure. My dad had dementia so books like this are kinda difficult for me!

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  3. laurelrainsnow
    Dec 03, 2014 @ 02:40:07

    I loved this book, and it seemed to really hit home, as I think of my ability to use words, to find them when I need them, as a necessary part of who I am. I, too, felt that reading the story from Alice’s perspective made it even more poignant.

    Can’t wait to see the movie, as Julianne Moore will, no doubt, give an awesome performance. She seems to inhabit her roles.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Jules se livre
    Dec 03, 2014 @ 08:49:03

    I read that book a long time ago (in French) and I was very touched by Genova’s writting! I didn’t know a film was coming out of it, I’m very excited!

    Like

    Reply

  5. Carole from Carole's Chatter
    Dec 03, 2014 @ 09:01:51

    Hi Shelley Rae, looks like a fab book! How about adding your review to the Books You Loved collection over at Carole’s Chatter? Cheers

    Like

    Reply

  6. Lisa
    Dec 03, 2014 @ 12:11:12

    I’ve been really hesitant about reading this one, because I’m afraid it would be just too upsetting and too close to home, in terms of experiences of a few family members. Maybe I’ll see the movie and then decide about the book. I have read something else by this author (Left Neglected), and I know she does a great job of showing the human impact of brain disorders. Thanks for the thoughtful review.

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  7. Patty
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 14:10:16

    I have not wanted to read this one…I have a weird thing about books like this.

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  8. Teddyree
    Dec 08, 2014 @ 23:07:49

    This was a favourite read for me in 2012 and I’m really looking forward to the movie. Excellent review Shelleyrae🙂

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  9. stacybuckeye
    Dec 09, 2014 @ 08:21:23

    Thanks for reminding me the movie is coming out soon, I have the book on my shelf. Maybe it’ll be my first 2015 read.

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    Reply

  10. Michelle
    Dec 21, 2014 @ 18:02:09

    This is such a touching, brilliant novel. I’m really looking forward to the movie, although I know I’ll have to pack some tissues! Great review Shelleyrae🙂

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  11. Trackback: Still Alice: A Novel | Science Book a Day

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