Still Alice - A Review

 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... Reminiscent of A Beautiful Mind, Ordinary People and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Still Alice packs a powerful emotional punch and marks the arrival of a strong new voice in fiction

This book was given to me to read by one of my resident's daughters. She said it had been a powerful read for her and helped to give her insight into her mother's disease. As a director of a dementia-care unit, I felt compelled to read it, not only for the person who recommended it to me, but for all of my residents too. I feel a responsibility to do as much as I can to understand where they are emotionally, cognitively, and physically. This book was an amazing picture the heartbreak that surrounds this disease.

I cried my way through the last half of this book as Alice begins to deteriorate further. It gave me such perspective on the lives people have before this disease robs them of themselves. This book also has helped me to empathize more with the family members who struggle so much with the Alzheimer's diagnosis. I would absolutely recommend this book to people working in the long-term care field and those who have a loved one struggling with dementia. No, it is not an uplifting book, but it will leave a lasting impact on those who read it.


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