Monday, August 3, 2009

Still Alice

by Lisa Genova

Alzheimer's is such a debilitating disease and those who are fortunate enough to not have it don't completely comprehend the devastating effects it can have on someone's life. Great accomplishments, fond memories, and even loved ones are completely forgotten, and the person with the condition ends up watching other people live life for them and around them.

This story takes a strong, intelligent, ambitious, physically healthy woman at the peak of her existence and shoots her down with the Alzheimer's arrow. Readers are brought into her brain and we see first-hand how the brain just shuts down month by month by month. It's extremely emotional to see someone who used to be so intelligent (she had earned her PhD, for Pete's sake!) not even be able to answer the simplest question such as "Where do you live?".

It was a very well written novel. It was so intriguing to be inside the brain of an Alzheimer's victim, and incredibly scary as well, knowing that there's a possibility this could happen to any one of the people I love or even to myself. The author did an excellent job keeping it believable and really showing us how Alice felt and thought and declined. The only complaint I would have is the names of the characters-- they were extremely similar, so it was hard to keep track. Anne, Anna, Alice, Allison...But maybe Ms. Genova did that on purpose to show the confusion that Alice went through during the course of her disease. Hmmmm...

You just have to read it. I could go on and on about why I enjoyed reading this book, but I don't want to keep you from picking it up. Alzheimer's does not have a cure, so don't expect a happy, miraculous ending. But you definitely feel a sense of contentment and satisfaction when you turn that last page. And please please please donate to the Alzheimer's Association, so that we can finally find a cure for this horrible disease.

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