Still Alice | 5 star review
Published by Pocket Books
Still Alice is a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman's sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer's disease, written by first-time author Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph. D in neuroscience from Harvard University.
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...
I listened to this book on Audible and I’m so glad I did. This book is perfect on audiobook, you become completely submerged in the story. I think you begin to notice some of the things you wouldn’t have if you were reading it on the page.
I have so much to say about this book, and how it made me feel – I literally couldn’t stop thinking about it for days after. It had such a big impact. I definitely think it’ll be one of my favourites for years to come – which is completely down to how well written this book was. The journey of Alzheimer’s disease this book goes down is so well done and so well described it was unbelievable. I was dubious as to how well someone could describe something like this using the perspective of someone who had it but Still Alice not only manages but does such a fantastic job of it.
The subtle deterioration of Still Alice was something that I think the audiobook was such a great fit for this story. You could hear the little variations in her speech and the way she began to forget things in a gradual fashion. Which was one of the things that made me fall head over heels in love with this book, it gave me a perspective that is rarely seen.
I think watching Alice decline and the desperation at the end was heartbreaking but in some ways my favourite part of the book. It showed you the reality of the situation and also that there is no positive outcome. Still Alice has raised awareness for a disease that still has no cure but has the tendency to be overlooked.
My favourite character in Still Alice would have to be Alice herself, she has so much strength and self-awareness it is astounding. I think reading about an intelligent, world-renowned scientist losing the one thing that she worked so hard to obtain has a huge impact. Plus watching her frustrations unveil it was heartbreaking.
My least favourite character in Still Alice is definitely her husband John. I thought that his frustrations were completely realistic at the beginning. Watching him deal with his wife disappearing before his eyes and struggling with that it was so natural. However as the story went on and he began to disregard Alice as a person made it hard to like him.
I would completely recommend Still Alice to anyone who wanted to gain perspective on an AWFUL disease. Plus the point of view in this story is so unique and one of a kind I think you would have a hard time finding anywhere else.
Have you read any books that deal with illness in a respectful and well-rounded way? Let me know in the comments!