Saturday, April 21, 2012

thoughts on: Still Alice

Still AliceStill Alice by Lisa Genova

Lisa Genova gives us excellent insight into the deteriorating mind of someone with Alzheimer's Disease.  She combines the latest research findings with the story of one woman, and her family, dealing with early onset of the disease.  Strongest when she slips into the first person voice of Alice, a 50 year old psychology professor at Harvard, Genova captures the fear and confusion, as well as the rapid pace of the disease.  At what point, she asks, does Alice cease to be herself? 

I wish the novel had been written entirely in the first person.  However, Genova writes also to inform her reader about the latest (at the time it was written) research and treatment options.  So Alice's husband, a biologist, has pointed conversations with her neurologist about what causes the disease, as well as both conventional and experimental treatments.  I feel this will date the book in a few years.  At least, I hope it will, as our understanding of Alzheimer's grows.  Although informative, these read as interruptions to the narrative, and could have been included as an appendix rather than inserted into the novel.  I would have preferred to hear more of Alice's own voice.

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