“Still Alice” by Lisa Genova was recommended to me by the Alzheimer’s Association as a must read for anyone who was dealing with loved ones who are suffering from dementia. Finding myself exposed to this tragic disease through care-giving for a loved one, I finally picked up a copy.
“Still Alice” is a fictional story that is based on the truths of the world of someone who suffers from early onset of dementia. It takes us immediately into the life of Alice Howland, a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard. She is also an expert in linguistics, and is married with three grown children. When Alice begins to notice certain aspects of her life falling apart – for example, not being able to recall words, becoming disoriented about where she was, forgetting meetings,etc., she took it upon herself to make an appointment with her doctor. From there, she was sent to a neurologist, and was eventually informed of the fact that she was in the throws of early Alzheimer’s.
The story is rich with emotion as each member of Alice’s family deals with Alice’s declining ability to function as the once active and productive person they knew. Her husband is torn between spending time with a woman he hardly knows anymore; her children are faced with the possibility that they too may one day have this disease. Some choose to get the blood test to confirm this, while others do not.
All in all, this story is heartfelt and I would highly recommend it as a read into a world that is as strange to the everyday person as it is to the person who is faced with the disease itself.