Still Alice by Lisa Genova
3 of 5 stars
A Harvard professor copes with the deterioration of her memory after she is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Alice’s own answers were like soap bubbles… They drifted away from her quickly and in dizzying directions, requiring enormous strain and concentration to track.
This book explores the mental degeneration of a person with Alzheimer’s, a grim topic, but one that is important and affects so many people. I appreciated that the author depicted this mental slide from the perspective of someone with the disease, working from the first symptoms, to the concern and testing, to the diagnosis and denial, all the way through the gradual deterioration. I found the writing and descriptions, the miscommunications and misunderstandings to paint a clear and realistic image of the havoc wreaked on the mind.
It took me awhile, however, to get into this book. In the first chapters, the author introduced a main character who was a very clinical, impersonal workaholic, whom I found difficult to relate to. The early chapters dealt a lot with her hectic work schedule, her work as a cognitive psychology professor, and her rather mundane daily routine. Sadly, Alice actually became more interesting to me as her disease progressed and she focused on other interests outside the classroom. The character of her husband also bugged me, though he seemed to become even more dull and work-centered as the story progressed instead of less so.
Overall: The downward progression of Alzheimer’s in the form of a novel.