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Still Alice Paperback – 1 December 2014
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|Paperback, 1 December 2014||
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About the Author
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster UK; ANZ Only edition (1 December 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1471149064
- ISBN-13 : 978-1471149061
- Dimensions : 13 x 2.5 x 19.9 cm
Best Sellers Rank:
59,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- 4,236 in Contemporary Literature & Fiction
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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Written from Alice’s perspective we are right there with her on her torturous journey. We become Alice as she struggles for that word frustratingly just beyond her reach, embarrassed as she demolishes her neighbours kitchen desperately looking for a teabag, and terrified as she breathlessly races around her house urgently looking for the bathroom.
We feel for Alice as her husband becomes distant and absent. She yearns for closeness in her final lucid months but John denies her this, oblivious to the fact that Alice does have a sense of self, and ironically knows her mind despite its rapid deterioration. This is the strength of the book: a reminder that despite the cognitive decline an Alzheimer’s sufferer is still a person, still human and not to be written off.
Still Alice is a terrifying read and will have you second guessing your own forgetful moments.
And if you are looking for further reading on the subject I would highly recommend An Absent Mind by Eric Rill – another 5 star read!
Genova does an excellent job in literary terms. Characterisation, plot and writing style are all terrific. The recurring device where Alice programs her Blackberry to ask the same questions every day is a good one. As her answers become less full and accurate we have an idea of what it’s like to be in this mind. It’s not surprising that everyone with EOAD with whom Genova spoke considered suicide. I certainly would. Interesting too was the change in the relationship Alice has with youngest daughter Lydia, going from somewhat distant and uncomfortable to something much closer. Ironically, because Lydia has chosen acting as a career without getting a degree she is much more willing to engage with Alice’s feeling life than husband John or siblings Anna and Tom. John’s response to Alice is well written too, though less sympathetic to us, the readers. As a scientist at the top of his game we can appreciate his desire to leave Harvard for a prestigious job with Sloane Kettering in New York, but to even thinking about removing Alice from familiar surroundings sounds heartless. However, it is a hugely difficult thing he is dealing with and it ill becomes us to criticise. The book doesn’t take us to the inevitable end. It stops with Lydia asking Alice to hear some lines and telling her what emotion she has succeeded in conveying. Alice has no problem identifying love and though it might be corny, this is really the answer to the question Alice and all of us must ask. If my job, my intellect, my memories, my language are all stripped away, what am I? A being who can feel and care.
Alice is a tenured, deeply respected Harvard Professor of Linguistics. Accolades surround her, she leads a charmed life with her Harvard Science professor husband. They have 3 bright children, two highly productive and one very artistic. "The charmed life" seems coined for this couple. Then Alice notices lapses of thought, forgets how to return home while jogging on a daily path, rampages the next door neighbor's kitchen mistaking it for her own, and rambles during lectures she may remember to attend or NOT.
The neurologist, whom after testing Alice, relates quite flatly that she has "onset Alzheimer's" at the age of 50. Her husband rages at this diagnosis. Her children fear. For the rest of the journey we follow Alice, her deepest thoughts, her clumsy mistakes, her journey's into past memories while the present moments are lost.
The mesmerising prose is so eloquent it aids in reading Alice's demise into dementia. The scientific accents help in understanding the mechanics of what is happening to beloved Alice's brain. The human emotions exhibited make it so real and so honest we can not remain detached bystanders even though many of her family and friends do just that.
Don't do what I did, Don't wait... While It will be a painful journey, you will be so grateful for the knowledge and for meeting Alice. (The movie aside) 5+ Stars
Top reviews from other countries
I find the story so captivating and compelling. Each time i have read it in a few days. It gives a very real and truthful account of both the person with the disease and the carers. And it leaves me sad, that i didn't understand my father more. The times he may have understood more than i thought. Yet the beauty of this story gives me a chance to celebrate how i did interact have with him in his final stages and enjoy the beautiful memories i have, helps me grieve still now. It gives hope. All is not lost. Don't give up trying to connect with someone who has this disease. I lost my 83 year old father to Alzheimer's disease in 2016, three years after diagnosis.
The book is about Alice and her not so slow downfall into early on-set Alzheimer's at the age of 50. Alice is a very well respected professor of linguistics at Harvard university, traveling all over the globe giving lectures, and her opinion is listened to with respect. She feels it all happening in her head and can't do a thing about it.
The author Lisa Genova captures the progressive descent beautifully, with sympathy and empathy and manages to get a touch of humour in it from time to time. The way she writes, repeating sentences often and with little asides brings it home to you how awful this disease is.
It is heartbreaking to read and I have to admit to a little tear after Alice gives her talk to the world renown experts in the disease.
You just have to read this book, yes, it is sad but so well written, and does have it's heartwarming bits too.