62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life imitating art...in my own life
Alice Howland taught cognitive psychology courses at Harvard for over twenty-five years. Alice and her husband, John authored Molecules to Mind, she published papers, and lectured around the world. Her three children were grown and on their own paths (not that she was very happy about Lydia's choice of acting, but she hadn't given up trying to influence her to go back...
Published on Jan 19 2009 by Mary G. Longorio
16 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stretched the imagination a bit
Dealing with someone who indeed suffers from Alzheimers I found parts of this book resonated with me ... the inability to find words ... the lost look on the face ... the inability to complete sentences. The book depicted all these things remarkably well. However, the downfall I found was that towards the end of the book when one would believe the symptoms and ravages...
Published on July 8 2009 by the constant reader
Most Helpful First | Newest First
62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life imitating art...in my own life,
This review is from: Still Alice (Paperback)Alice Howland taught cognitive psychology courses at Harvard for over twenty-five years. Alice and her husband, John authored Molecules to Mind, she published papers, and lectured around the world. Her three children were grown and on their own paths (not that she was very happy about Lydia's choice of acting, but she hadn't given up trying to influence her to go back to real school). Her son Tom was doing well in school, daughter Annie and her husband, Charlie are attorneys trying to conceive a first grandchild.
Facing a busy schedule and travel and everyday stress, Alice isn't concerned when she begins to forget little things, where the keys are, names of acquaintances or a momentary sense of disorientation. After all she is fifty and that is part of menopause. .
A trip to her family doctor to get some suggestions for cognitive memory reinforcement and to see if medication is available does not help. Alice is stunned to learn that she has Early Onset Alzheimer's and that there is not very much available for treatment. Telling her husband and children is even harder to face. Eventually she has to face the loss of her teaching and life's work.
"Still Alice" is Alice's voice as she struggles with the advancement of Alzheimer's. As the disease advances, she is living more in the now, and often hurt by her interpretations of family member's words and actions. She reacts with anger and confusion as her world shifts and becomes more unfamiliar and frightening. Her family also has to deal with their emotions. The realization that their funny, loving accomplished mother and wife is slowly disappearing before their eyes are devastating, and they each react differently. Alice tries to stay aware of what is happening, but has the disease advances her voice becomes quieter and briefer. Lisa Genova has a Ph.D in Neuroscience from Harvard University and works with several Alzheimer's organizations as well as serving as the online columnist for the national Alzheimer's Association. Although "Still Alice" is a work of fiction, it is apparent there is much drawn from real life experiences and observations. Genova has given a voice to a population not usually listened to. The characters are facing uncertainty and struggling with Alice's decent into unknowing. There are moments of hilarity as well as heartbreak. This book will touch anyone who works with dementia patients, or who has a friend or loved one with Alzheimer's. (early 2008)
Less than a year later finds me, the reviewer, caring for my own father in my home as he succumbs more and more to his organic dementia. We have had to uproot him from his home in Texas to move into our home in Utah where either my husband or I can be with him around the clock. We moved into a house and I have drastically cut back on my work load. I keep looking back to the pages where Alice tries to describe her confusion and tries to frame what she wants from those around her so I can somehow meet those same needs in my Father. I fear I am falling short.....there is so much anger directed at me and my husband for moving him away. We couldn't transfer out jobs down to Texas and survive. Being over fifty we couldn't walk away from careers with tenure and pensions. Between my 7 other siblings there were too many teenagers (too much stress) too many young children (ditto) and a widowed sister looking for a possible husband. Oh, and the inevitable family conflicts. No matter how hard I have tried I feel I am falling short. "It's nothing personal, Mary....I like your brothers more than you" Dad hates it here, it isn't working. "One night I am going to walk right out of here and won't that be a surprise in the morning?' Dad often says the blessing at dinner and is sure to add "Please bless this food especially since Mary has cooked tonight" that is if he can manage to say all that before we all get the giggles and just say "amen". I work with this type patient everyday at my job and I still cannot make it work in my homecare for my own Father. I reread Still Alice as a roadmap. it is my best guide.....though the road is unknown and I feel completely unprepared to travel it. I have no choice I must keep moving on....
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic Read,
This review is from: Still Alice (Paperback)A gripping tale about early onset alzheimers. Didn't want to put this book down, and had a lot of empathy for the victims and caregivers of alzheimers.
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving novel,
This review is from: Still Alice (Paperback)This novel was recommended by instructors in a dementia care course. This is going to be a must-read for the sandwich generation.
5.0 out of 5 stars still alice,
This review is from: Still Alice (Paperback)STILL ALICE is a wonderful story to help understand what someone with Alzheimers is going through, or for anyone recently diagnosed with the disease.
5.0 out of 5 stars `January nineteenth. Nothing good ever happened on that day.',
This review is from: Still Alice (Paperback)Alice Howland is a happily married 50 year old woman with three grown children and a successful academic career. Alice lectures at Harvard and juggles a busy schedule, but then she starts to experience memory loss. Alice hopes that her memory loss is simply a consequence of stress, of menopause, of growing older. But one day, after she gets lost while out on her regular run, she decides to seek medical advice.
Alice is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's dementia, and this novel follows her experience as she struggles to try to maintain her independence. Her devastated husband, John, searches for a miracle cure. Alice herself struggles to complete things that once came easily, to remember places and people, and to find a place in a world which is rapidly becoming unfamiliar to her. `Still Alice' is her story.
`I'm losing my yesterdays.'
I've had this novel on my shelf since it was first published. Not long after, a favourite relative was diagnosed with Alzheimer's dementia, and I couldn't bear to read fiction about it. The novel got pushed to the back of the shelf, and I picked it up by chance last week. I wish I'd read it earlier. Alice's story is compellingly written, and it's easy to mark her decline as she struggles to answer the questions she'd written for herself. The questions she'd written to try to assess whether life was still worth living. Alas, the reasoning behind what seemed to be a rational choice becomes lost as Alice's condition deteriorates. As we see the world through Alice's eyes, we can sense what a lonely, disconnected place it becomes - but not entirely without humour.
Lisa Genova, the author, has a Ph.D in neuroscience from Harvard University. This was her first novel. I think that `Still Alice' is a great step forward in raising awareness of Alzheimer's dementia: a disorder that I'd much rather read about than experience firsthand. Early onset Alzheimer's dementia seems particularly cruel.
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read!,
This review is from: Still Alice (Paperback)I truly enjoyed "Still Alice". It's not often that a book has a truly emotional appeal for me - this one did. Enjoy it!
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read,
This review is from: Still Alice (Paperback)While a fictional account, Still Alice provides insight into the world of one afflicted with early onset alzheimers. As I have a family member with dementia,this book gave one an idea of what it may be like for the person with this disease, in an easily read fashion.
4.0 out of 5 stars Howdenvale Bookers vote yes,
This review is from: Still Alice (Paperback)We rated this novel at 4.5 stars.
It was well written, researched and provided insight into Alzheimer’s from the view of the victim during the progression of the disease. The relationship between Alice and her husband and the changed family dynamics with her children provided great discussions. Since reading the book, when one cannot remember a name, a place, or a word, it makes us wonder if we have the disease.
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal, Insightful, Heartbreaking and Humbling,
This review is from: Still Alice (Paperback)This is a phenomenal book....nothing I have read in the past comes close in comparison. What an impact, I could not put it down, yet had me in tears frequently.
The fact that the main character is a Harvard Profession of ‘cognition’ who encounters early onset Alzheimer demonstrates the huge divide and impact while driving home the truth that this disease does not discriminate. Anyone can get it and the ultimate result is the same.
So it becomes about the journey you make…the factors you can control for a while…how do you gain acceptance? This is the part I think I found so challenging on a personal level. And the complexity increases when you factor in the journey for family and friends. For them it becomes about orchestrating in a way to help your loved one, while coping and trying to gain your own level of acceptance. And for direct family members the fear sets in of the unknown…will I get this disease?
I am glad I read this book. It has given me much better insight and appreciation.
5.0 out of 5 stars A true page-turner.,
This review is from: Still Alice (Paperback)I think this is an amazing book. Once it got going I couldn't stop turning the pages.
Highly interesting and provocative subject. I hope that this book brings awareness to Alzheimer.
You will not regret reading this book.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Still Alice by Lisa Genova (Paperback - Jan 6 2009)
CDN$ 17.00 CDN$ 9.49