I had never read a book written by Lisa Genova before Still Alice. I had wanted to see the movie, but rarely watch a movie before reading the book. It seems to ruin the reading experience for me. Now that I have finished the book, I’d love to watch the movie if only to see if it’s as well done.
Excellent. Fabulous. Emotional. I loved the book!
First, I learned things I did not previously know about Alzheimer’s Disease. I lost a grandmother to the disease in 1986, but did not know many of the things Lisa wrote about. Her extensive research was obvious.
Second, Alice had my sympathy and empathy early on and never let go. Several times, she brought tears to my eyes. It was told in such an authentic voice, it was as if I was going through it with her. There is nothing funny about Alzheimer’s, but Genova wrote in such a way that at times, I found myself smiling. She managed to find a calming, lighter side to such a tragic illness. Rather than being (just) a depressing drama that left me feeling exhausted and mentally drained, she wrote in such a way that I was offered brief remissions from such a heavy story line. Examples were the black ‘hole’ in the hallway and the neighbor’s cupboards. The way Alice felt wasn’t light-hearted, but at times, her actions were.
The relationship between Alice and her children was wonderful. Even with the EOAD she faced, she managed to make the relationship with her youngest daughter right. I wasn’t crazy about her husband. Although I believe John loved her, he was also in some ways selfish and at times (possibly) embarrassed. With that said, I felt his reaction to the news and subsequent actions was believable. Everyone handles such news differently.
What I liked the most about the book was the writing style and voice. The changes from start to finish were consistent with the progression of Alice’s disease. The author did a superb job altering her wording in regards to Alice’s thoughts as the disease advanced (‘thingy’, ‘the actress’, ‘the mother’)
I rarely read the same author twice in a row, always thirsting for variety. But I enjoyed this book so much that I went out and bought two more of her titles: Left Neglected and Love Anthony. If anyone has read them, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Still Alice – a highly recommended 5-star read.