STILL ALICE by Lisa Genova

STILL ALICE

KIRKUS REVIEW

First novel efficiently showcases the experience of developing early-onset Alzheimer’s.

In 24 months, 49-year-old Harvard psychology professor Alice Howland exchanges the role of high-achieving teacher, wife and mother of three for that of a disoriented, inarticulate, forgetful shell of her former self. Stricken much earlier than most by this progressive, degenerative disease for which there is no cure, Alice loses her profession, independence, clarity and contact with the world with shocking rapidity in a narrative that sometimes reads more like a dramatized documentary than three-dimensional fiction. Genova, an online columnist for the National Alzheimer’s Association, has a brisk style and lays out the facts of the disease—statistics, tests, drugs, clinical trials—plainly, often rather technically. The responses to Alice of her three grown-up children, who are also at risk of the disease; the struggles of her equally high-flying husband, a Harvard biologist; and Alice’s own emotional responses, including fear, suicidal thoughts, shame and panic, are offered in semi-educational fashion, sometimes movingly, sometimes mechanically. Alice’s address to the Alzheimer’s Association Annual Dementia Care Conference is an affecting final public statement before her descent into fog and the loving support of her children.

Worthy, benign and readable, but not always lifelike.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4391-0281-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2008




BOOKS FOR WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY:

Nonfiction HALLUCINATIONS by Oliver Sacks
by Oliver Sacks
Fiction TURN OF MIND by Alice LaPlante
by Alice LaPlante
Fiction HALFWAY HOUSE by Katherine Noel
by Katherine Noel
Nonfiction MONKEY MIND by Daniel Smith
by Daniel Smith

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

IndieUNFINISHED CONVERSATIONS by Dixie Guill Golden
by Dixie Guill Golden
IndieThe Warrior With Alzheimer's by Stephen Woodfin
by Stephen Woodfin
IndieThe Kind of September by William Donohue
by William Donohue