Saturday, January 23, 2010

Still Alice (Lisa Genova, 2007)

Still Alice is the award winning New York Times fiction bestseller by Lisa Genova. A first time novelist, Genova holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and is affiliated with the National Alzheimer’s Foundation. As an English professor, I was intrigued by the book about Alice Howland, a fifty year old Harvard professor who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Alice is an accomplished academic, happily married, and the mother of three adult children. Early in the novel, she becomes perplexed as to why she is misplacing things, getting lost on routine runs, and forgetting familiar words. She is stunned to learn that she has Alzheimer’s disease and grapples with the fact that she will slowly be losing her mind. Ultimately, everything she has worked for in life is slowly taken away. Alice struggles to come to grips with the gradual loss of her cognitive functions and her family must adapt to a new dynamic in their relationship. I became completely engrossed in her story and felt compelled to wonder what I would do in her situation. How would I react if I received such a diagnosis or had to take care of a family member with this horrible illness? After reading Still Alice, my heart goes out to the people who are suffering from this disease. In Alice’s words, “This last part of your life, the part with Alzheimer’s and this end that you’ve carefully chosen, is tragic, but you did not live a tragic life.”


  1. Loved this book! Still thinking about it 2 weeks later...

  2. An amazing first novel; it was heartbreaking to read about Alice's mental decline. I would definitely recommend this one.