Saturday, 18 April 2015
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Unable to care for herself, Alice struggles to find meaning and purpose as her concept of self gradually slips away. But Alice is a remarkable woman, and her family learn more about her and each other in their quest to hold on to the Alice they know. Her memory hanging by a frayed thread, she is living in the moment, living for each day. But she is still Alice.
I was recently at a Books and the City event and I picked up a copy of Still Alice, this isn’t a book that I would have picked up but after seeing a trailer for the film adaption I decided to give it a try and I am so glad I did otherwise I would have missed out on this little gem.
Alice is a successful university professor a wife to John and mum to her three children. She has enjoyed a very full life and thrived under pressure but things have taken a drastic change in recent months, she often finds herself lost for words and as much as she tries to form them they refuse to come and when one day she goes for a run she panics as she has no idea where she lives and how to get home so she decides to see a doctor but she is given devastating news that she is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
I sat down to read this book and ended up finishing it in one sitting. It was such a powerful and insightful read, I think we all have an idea what effects Alzheimer’s has on sufferers but this book showed us even the small things that we take advantage of day to day that Alzheimer’s has an effect on. I really felt for our main character Alice and I could feel her frustration at times through the pages. But one character I really didn’t warm to was her husband John, I was really shocked by his actions and he seemed like a very selfish character who puts his career before his family, I understand that his life will still carry on after the illness takes his wife but even still I find it hard to believe that you wouldn’t want to spend every last minute you could with the one you love and I don’t feel that his actions were his way of coping with it I just felt he was cold hearted.
One of the most tender moments in this book for me was when Alice was having a conversation with one of her daughters and she talks about the being afraid of one day looking at her daughter and not knowing her face and this really scared me to think that there are people all around the world at that point, but her daughter had such a lovely reply it and she dealt with the situation so well.
This book will leave an imprint on me, I am sure I will think back to this book and the character Alice many times in the future. This was an insightful read that has left an impact on me I just wish the ending hadn’t ended so abruptly and this is the reason I have given this a four instead of a five star rating.