I read this book without any real prior information about Alzheimer's. I do not know anyone with this illness and I have never personally experienced any of the symptoms. I saw the book in the library and thought it might be interesting. Lisa Genova did an excellent job creating the main character and depicting her life from her vantage point with Alzheimer's. Even if the reader has no interest in Alzheimer's it is still an excellent read as relationships are strained as they sometimes conflict on what steps should be taken for the main character, Alice.
****Some of the reviews on this site from previous posters do give away the ending. Be very careful reading them if you would rather have the suspense. I did not read a review prior to reading the book as I normally would and it made it that more intriguing for me not knowing what would happen with the character.****
Still Alice tells the story of a 50-ish Harvard professor's struggles with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. The reader witnesses her decline: from more frequent moments of forgetfulness to bad days with still some good days and finally the late stages, in which Alice rarely recognizes the people in her life. Although Still Alice is a very sad story in many ways, Genova tells it with humor, compassion, and warmth.
Still Alice is a quick and very engrossing read. It personalizes the sad decline an Alzheimer's patient endures, and at the same time reminds us of how precious our thoughts and memories are.
I just finished Still Alice and find myself heart sick over it. I'm not sure I'm sorry or glad over her ability to follow the instructions in the Butterfly file. While she seemed to slip into a lovely little second childhood, and her own children rallied... it seemed her husband's only reaction was to run away in horror. Which I imagine isn't an unusual reaction. Yet I know that had Alice known this was all going to take place so quickly, she would have acted sooner to act out her own plan. It makes me want to take the tests to see if forgetting my keys, what I had for breakfast, or even the new hire's name immediately after introduction, is something more than just stress, lack of time and actually not giving a d*mn. Is it always sweet and someone else takes care of the details or do you find yourself in an ally not even knowing your own name? That is the true horror story. I'd recommend it to anyone and then avoid their worried glance after finishing.
5 out of 5
One of my favorite books this year. I highly recommend this touching story of Dr. Alice Howland and her very personal journey into Alzheimers.
When Dr. Howland, a decorated Harvard professor starts having slight memory lapses she chalks it up to menopause, what else could it be, with her schedule she doesnt have time for much more, that is until the lapses are more frequent and more terrifying.
With her husband a Harvard Research Scientist they explore the possibilities and medical trials with each wanting to take a different approach. What ensures are a couple of heartbreaking discoveries, laughter and the healing of old wounds. But what is lost is what makes this book so remarkable Alice takes you on her own personal journey though this disease and you see it from the inside, from the person and not just the textbook. When she makes the comment of -- how can you remember what you have lost when you cant remember what had you had-- just brought the whole thing home for me. What if you cant remember the person you once were and the people that had meant so much to you?
Near the end of the book Alice gives a speech to the Dementia Care Conference that is just heartbreaking. For that one moment in time, she is once again the Alice Howland that her friends and colleagues know, love and respected. For that one moment in time she is Still Alice.
I cant recommend this book highly enough.
I loved every thing about this book but the ending. It left me hanging with what happened to Alice after she totally lost her memory. If you want to know how early onset Alzheimer's progress you really need to read this book. The characters are very well developed and very beleivable. Alice, a Harvard professor notices she is starting to forget thing and attributes it to menopause. After visiting her GP, she goes to a neuroligist to find out she has early onset Alzheimer's at the age of 50. The fast pace progression of the disease and her family and friends reactions are well documented. This is a great book!