Simon & Schuster
Alice Howland, 50, is a respected psychology professor at Harvard, living a comfortable life with her husband, John, when the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s begin to emerge.
First, she can’t find her phone, then she becomes hopelessly disoriented in her own town. Alice is shocked to be diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s as she had suspected a brain tumour or menopause. Her life begins steadily to unravel. She loses track of rooms in her home, resigns from Harvard and eventually cannot recognise her own family. The brutal facts of Alzheimer’s are heartbreaking.
Lisa Genova is one of my favourite authors. She embraces a difficult topics such as Alzheimer’s disease, researches it thoroughly and then merges the facts seamlessly into a story where the characters are totally believable. It is a sobering and often disturbing story, one that tended to have me identifying a bit too closely with Alice Howland as she innocently accepted her memory lapses in the early stages of Alzheimer’s to be caused by stress, menopause and work overload.
This is a book everyone needs to read. It is one of inevitability, of sadness, frustration, adjustment and eventually acceptance. It is the perfect portrayal of the effect of Alzheimer’s on the whole family.
This is a well-crafted book about a distressing subject.
Lisa Genova writes about early onset dementia with true empathy and lucidity.
Even though I knew that this was a fictional account the writer’s gift for storytelling ensured that I remained captivated and engaged with the very “real” emotions that the protagonist was experiencing.
I felt Alice’s anguish at each new memory loss, endured with her when the diagnosis was given as irreversible and cried for her when she struggles to perform simple tasks of daily life.
This is not an “enjoyable” book but one that should be read if only to have some understanding of those suffering with this disease.
I almost dreaded reading this book on my first impression that it would be another fluffy “my journey” episode.
How misleading the cover of a book can be.
Alice takes us through her diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s disease toward the inevitable outcome.
However, this book is so well written that the reader has a virtual experience of the symptoms as they develop and the disease takes hold.
I would suggest this is a worthwhile read for all people over 50, if for no other reason than to better understand this insidious disease and how it might affect you, your family, or others close to you.
I found this a most compelling story. Lisa Genova has flung back the curtains and opened the window, to let some light in on this horrible disease, Alzheimer’s.
There is so much to this story– the snub from her colleagues when she stands up and tells them why she is leaving Harvard, as if they may catch the disease; the wayward daughter who is the first to respond to be there for her mother; the can-do lists she writes for the following day; the bottle of pills hidden in the bedside drawer.
The highlight for me was Alice’s address at a conference giving a full and personal account of living with Alzheimer’s. Most importantly this is about family, the strength and love. I recommend this book and I am sure you will never look on dementia in the same way again.
This interesting and educational novel provides a keen insight into the mind of a highly intelligent 50-year-old Harvard psychology professor whose mental capacity progresses rapidly from early onset to severe dementia.
It is an extremely well researched and accurate picture of the thoughts and feelings of a person with Alzheimer’s disease.
Alice feels that this is a condition much worse than cancer. Cancer is something you can fight!
The effects of her illness on her work and family are also very well written. Every senior 55+ should read this book. Excellent 8/10.
This book reminds me how precious and precarious life is. Things can be going along swimmingly and then with one roll of the dice, everything changes.
It’s an uncomfortable book at first, until you get drawn in to caring about Alice.
The book follows her hopeless battle to maintain her life and memories as Alzheimer’s takes hold. By describing the progress of the disease as Alice experiences it, the author has created an engaging, informative and important book.
Well worth reading.
It makes me want to make a bucket list and live every day as though it matters, because it does.