Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life–and her relationship with her family and the world–forever.
At once beautiful and terrifying, Still Alice is a moving and vivid depiction of life with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease that is as compelling as A Beautiful Mind and as unforgettable as Judith Guest’s Ordinary People.
I started reading this book almost two years ago. I stopped reading it because at the time, my husband was going through a series of neurology tests that were very similar to what Alice was going through and I just couldn’t handle it.
I picked the book back up, recently, because I thought it was important to finish it. I have dementia and Alzheimer’s on both sides of my family so I am familiar with being on this side of things.
Even when I wasn’t right in the middle of my own family emergency, this book was a hard one for me to read. It was necessary, but hard. I felt so much compassion for Alice as she struggles through Alzheimer’s. I can’t imagine how scary it must be.
I will say that this book messed with my head. Because I have family history of Alzheimer’s, it was on my mind that this more than likely could be me in the future. First of all, I’m not sure I could pass the memory test the doctors gave her at the very beginning. I found myself forgetting little things and becoming alarmed that there was something wrong with me. I had nightmares too.
This is a powerful book that needs to be read, but it is also a book I recommend hesitantly. I’m not sure it would be comforting to a caretaker of someone with Alzheimer’s. Let’s all pray for a cure.