Book Review: Still Alice by Lisa Genova

“My yesterdays are disappearing, and my tomorrows are uncertain, so what do I live for? I live for each day. I live in the moment. Some tomorrow soon, I'll forget that I stood before you and gave this speech. But just because I'll forget it some tomorrow doesn't mean that I didn't live every second of it today. I will forget today, but that doesn't mean that today didn't matter.”

― Lisa Genova, Still Alice

 Neuroscientist and novelist Lisa Genova published the book Still Alice in 2007. Still Alice is an engrossing debut book about a 50-year-old woman's abrupt onset of Alzheimer's disease. Genova self-published the book through iUniverse in 2007. The book was eventually purchased by Simon & Schuster and released by Gallery Books in January 2009. For more than 40 weeks, it was included as one of The New York Times' best sellers. More than 20 languages have been used in its translation, and it has been marketed in 30 different nations.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer's disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what's it's like to literally lose your mind.

My reaction to the novel...

Since I've had this book for such a long time, I'd already forgotten I ever owned it. The realization that I had this book but hadn't yet had a chance to read it came to me while I was organizing my bookshelves. I made the decision to select this book since I was looking for something unusual to read. Although the first chapter of the book didn't immediately grab me when I started reading it, I pushed myself since I already knew what kind of book it would be. I'm glad I picked this one since it introduced me to a new subject and I found it to be really interesting.

Although I am aware with Alzheimer's because I am a nurse and we discussed it throughout my studies, I did not pay attention to this case because I had not come across any patients who had this same diagnosis; however, it appears that I had been exposed to a patient with this diagnosis while reading this. Actually, as I read the book, I began to feel uneasy and scared, almost as if I had developed paranoia, because I occasionally forget words or names of people I am sure I know, as well as the titles of movies or things I have just used. I was thus worried. I felt uneasy when reading this.

I also paid attention when I read the part where the neurologist evaluated the main character. It is as though I am the patient who is also responding to the evaluation. I was able to recall the lines and other details that the neurologist in the book was going over with the patient, but I couldn't help but feel anxious. I almost feel as though I am the main character in the story and am going through everything with her.

Although the book is wonderful, it is really terrifying. It will expose you to the harrowing experience of an Alzheimer's patient. Even if I am just reading it, I find it incredibly difficult to fathom what they are going through. I could feel the agony and difficulty the main character went through when the memories of her loved ones and all of her accomplishments were suddenly ripped from her. It serves as a wake-up call to all readers to not ignore problems like forgetfulness since it can result in something. It is preferable to be informed even while there is no known cure.

I genuinely appreciate the way this book's narrative is structured. It should be suggested not just to book lovers, but to everyone, in order to raise awareness not only for the patient, but also for family members. There aren't enough words to express how much I adore this book.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐(5/5)

“Prioritizing hurt, a reminder that the clock was ticking, that some things would be left undone.”

Everything cannot always be mended, especially if you are hurt or in pain. Even if you desire to achieve or finish anything while you are broken, the pain and suffering you are going through will make you feel as though you haven't accomplished the task you're working on.

“I can’t stand the thought of looking at you someday, this face I love, and not knowing who you are.”

This is heartbreaking. It is true that it is quite difficult if you are unable to recall anything, but forgetting your loved ones—their faces and the things you share with them—is a hundred times more agonizing and dreadful than being on your own somewhere.



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