The personal story of a woman, Alice Howland, a professor of psychology at Harvard, mother of three grown children who at the age of 50 is diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease. Though fictional, this book has the feel of truth and involves the reactions and interactions of her family and friends as well as the thoughts coursing through her mind as the disease begins to take it's toll. It is heart wrenching, deeply frightening to imagine how a mind slowly disintegrates and the effect that disintegration has on an individual's personhood. Thus the name of the book "Still Alice" describes the person trapped inside this terrible disease of the mind. In the past I have tended to think of how this affects those around the person but I now have what I feel is a fairly accurate picture of what it is like for the person themselves. Such a quiet, muffled, sad progression. The reactions of each of her family members spanned the spectrum of possible reactions, yet each seemed to find their own way to deal with the inevitable. Again, it felt true!
I feel somehow richer for reading this story. As if I have a new understanding, greater compassion for those touched by this diagnosis. We often joke about forgetting and losing one's mind, but the reality is not a laughing matter.