Still Alice by Lisa Genova

still alice

This is the sad story of a woman in her early fifties who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. She is physically fit and healthy, and she is above average intelligence, she works as a professor at Harvard. This is presumably to make us realise that this can happen to anyone.

Genova is a psychologist and neuroscientist, and her grandmother had Alzheimer’s. So, she knows her stuff. She explains it all very clearly. It is a genetic disease, that can move very quickly in some patients, as it does with Alice, or sometimes much more slowly. I think she does a very good job of showing the symptoms, and apparently she spoke to lots of early-onset Alzheimer’s patients as part of her research.

The book is written from the perspective of a person with increasing dementia. I think that is what sets it apart from many other books. It may seem like a difficult task, to show forgetfulness and confusion from a first-person perspective, but that is one of the things that makes the book so good. Alice cannot read a book or watch a film because her brain cannot store information from a story for long enough for her to follow it, but she manages to narrate this book perfectly and illustrate that very well.

It was a sad book that I fully expected to make me cry towards the end, but it has kind of an uplifting ending, which highlights the value of all people in our lives, and why we should care for our elderly. But on the other hand, the ending is kind of a cop-out. Oh, and Alice’s husband is a total asshole at worst, and just a fool at best, but we do not really get to hear very much about how he feels, which might have been interesting, since the book was not that long.

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