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.
This book was so touching, deep and beautiful.
As the summary says, Alice is a linguistics professor at Harvard University, has a loving husband John, and 3 amazing grown children, Anna, Tom, and Lydia. Alice celebrates her 50th birthday with her family, and everything is right with the world. But when she starts to forget things she's been remembering forever, like baking her mother's cake, certain words from speeches she's given for years, and names of close friends and collegues, she decides to see a neurologist. After a couple more tests, she has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
I knew about this book because my favorite actress, Kristen Stewart, was playing Lydia in the film adaptation, so I wanted to read it in time before the movie came out. (Obviously didn't happen, because the movie came out last month! :P) The summary alone caught my interest because I haven't heard of a novel where we get to hear the whole of the victim's point of view; we usually get to hear it from the caregiver or a family member, or a friend. But to actually see the progression of the disease from Alice's point of view, from her mind to her speech, even to how she taught classes, was scary to see in my mind.
My grandfather died 4 years ago from dementia, so seeing Alice go through similar symptoms brought me back to how I felt with him, especially the family. Alice's husband John couldn't cope and kept denying that there was anything wrong; Anna only thought of how the hereditary disease was going to affect her and her twin babies; Lydia was pretty much the only main caregiver for Alice. When Lydia asked Alice "What does [having Alzheimer's] actually feel like?" it made me feel relieved that Alice didn't have to be alone.
Lisa Genova's writing style was fantastic and when Alice's disease took over her mind and thoughts, I noticed that most of the dialogue and narratives repeated over and over, until someone else had to correct Alice. I found that very interesting because it showed the fear and sadness of how Alice was feeling.
The ending was also written really well, and it showed that the story wasn't over. That even though Alice didn't remember or know what was going on, she somehow knew that it was going to be okay because she had the love of her family with her.
I encourage you to read this book and see the film if it comes near you. I also encourage you to donate to the Alzheimer's Association in honor of Kristen Stewart's 25th birthday.
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Thanks for reading! :) ♥