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A friend gave me Still Alice the day before my flight back to Illinois to visit my 87 year old mother. I hadn’t yet picked out a book to read on the plane, so this was one less decision to make. So, today I’m talking about a serious subject for Barrie Summy’s Book Review Clu b. Don’t forget to check out Barrie’s other great book club reviews for November.
Still Alice was on the New York Times bestseller list and after reading it, I can understand why. This is a must read for anyone with a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle who seems to forget more than normal.
As we age, there is always the word that we can’t quite remember or we go to the kitchen then forget what we went there for. But approximately 5.3 million people in the US are living with Alzheimer’s Disease. Many more have mild cognitive impairment and are unaware of their problem.
Still Alice is a fictional story of Alice Howland, a fifty year-old cognitive psychology professor at Harvard University and world-renowned expert in linguistics who discovers she’s got a form of Alzheimer’s Disease known as Early Onset Alzheimer’s. This form of the disease strikes people in their 40’s and 50’s and is hereditary.
Still Alice is a touching story of living with Alzheimer’s Disease from Alice’s perspective. We see her struggle with accepting the diagnosis; hiding the disease from her family, friends, and co-workers; and living in a body she no longer understands. We see the impact her disease has on her husband and the dynamics in their relationship. And we see how her family rallies around to assist in her care when she needs them most.
I laughed and cried and couldn’t put the book down.
First-time novelist, Lisa Genova, won the 2008 Bronte Prize for this book.
She clearly captures the beautiful and terrifying aspects of Alice’s life as her disease quickly progresses. Although written as fiction, this book offers valuable information about the disease. With the millions of baby boomers reaching retirement age, there will be many more millions of people diagnosed with dementia. If you are in this age group, I urge you to read this book.