Book Love: Still Alice, by Lisa Genova

I have been a very bad blogger.  I have been busy and travelling and full of excuses instead of replying to the lovely people who have looked at my blog and maybe even taken the time to leave a comment.  I am still busy and travelling, but just wanted to pop in a quick post about a book I’ve read while being busy and travelling.  I picked it up in a hostel book swap without really thinking, read it in a couple of days and still keep thinking about it.

It’s called Still Alice by Lisa Genova and is written from the point of view of a woman with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease.  She is a well-respected Harvard psychology professor, which just makes her understanding of the disease even more devastating.  It is beautifully written to show the advancing disease from Alice’s point of view, and is incredibly moving.  Alice’s feelings and reactions of her family bring up all kinds of issues about the treatment of Alzheimer’s patients, their quality of life, and the trust they put in their carers as they become more dependent.  I honestly don’t believe anyone (other than someone with dementia) could read this book without changing the way they think about this desease.

These illnesses are so often discussed by carers, friends and family, it is refreshing to truly consider what the patient wants and thinks.  This issue of giving a voice to dementia sufferers is one that is addressing in the novel, and I personally found Alice an inspiring character.  It has completely changed the way I think about dementia and its treatment, and my mind is still being drawn back to it weeks later.  And then I discovered that the book has a 5 star Amazon rating and 4.2 on Goodreads – so it’s obviously not just me!

I can’t recommend this book enough – Lisa Genova has managed to take an incredibly emotional topic and create a novel which is not depressing or hopeless, just realistic and thought-provoking.  Quite an achievement, in my opinion.