My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Alice Howland knows something is wrong when she is standing in the middle of Harvard Commons and doesn't know how to get home. As a psychology professor at Harvard, her intellect is revered, her research prized and her speaking skills sought after. But after a series of incidents -- a missing Blackberry, disorientation in familiar settings, not recognizing an individual she met just 30 minutes earlier - she seeks medical advice, only to be diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Lisa Genova's Still Alice reads much like a crime novel -- the anticipation and angst one feels when you know something bad is going to happen -- but in this case -- the "bad" isn't someone, but something -- and even though you already know the outcome -- it is with a feeling of dread and anxiety as you wait for the finale.
The author's background -- she is a neuroscientist by training -- lends amazing authenticity to the story -- as if it were autobiographical. And the story she creates around Alice -- her husband John, her kids -- Tom, Anne and Lydia -- are equally well done. You intimately felt Alice’s digression with each page – and the torment it wrecked on her family – especially her husband John. But as devastating as this illness is, Alice never loses her dignity, nor do those around her lose their love for her.
This was an amazing novel – and one of my favorites to read this year.
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