Saturday, April 24, 2010

Show Me 5 Saturday: Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Currently hosted by Jenners at Find Your next Book Here

1 Book I read: Still Alice by Lisa Genova

2 Words that describe the book: Early-onset Alzheimers

3 Settings where it took place or characters you met:

1. The setting is modern day USA.
2. Alice is a 50 year old psychology professor - a successful woman with a loving family. When she begins to suffer from forgetfulness and moments of confusion she puts it down to normal aging and the effects of menopause  but a medical examination diagnoses her with early-onset Alzeimers.
3. Alice's family - her husband John and her three children in their 20's , Anna, Tom and Lydia.

4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it: a bit muddled this week (sorry)as so much of what I disliked for a start I did like in the end.

1. At first I disliked the writing style and content........I became a little lost in medical terms and sentences like " meanwhile she stepped off the curb and crossed the street, her motor cortex and cerebellum solving the complex mathematical equations necessary to move her body". It seemed so clinical and detached and lacking the emotional content I had expected.

2. Then I began to understand what the author was trying to do - to inform , help and promote understanding about this tragic condition and I really liked and appreciated the way she avoided turning it into a sob story.

3. At first I didn't like that the story is told from Alice's perspective ........that was because I expected it to be told from the family/caregiver point of view. I wanted it to be like that so I could relate their experiences to mine and instead I found I was looking at myself in John and the children .......quite painful at times.

4. I liked the discussion questions at the end - they gave me something to think about and helped me resolve some issues I was still holding on to. There is also a question and answer section with the author which I found very helpful.

5  Stars or less for your rating?

I'm giving this book 4.5 a personal level reading it has been worthwhile as it would be for anyone involved with a loved one suffering from Alzeimers but I also think it has a lot to offer other readers as well.


  1. Alzheimers scares the heck out of me. My husband's grandmother,father, uncle and now his sister have it. I've seen first hand how heartbreaking it is for the family and how scared and vulnerable the person who gets it is.

  2. This has been on my radar for a while. My FIL had it as did his father. As Kaye said, heartbreaking to watch a loved one go through it.

  3. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book! Everyone should read it, it's enlightening.

    What did you this of Alice's husband? UGH....

  4. This is on my list, but I'm so reluctant to read it I thought it would be one big sob. Thank you for saying it isn't so.

  5. I tried to get my book club to read this a couple months ago, but they thought it would be too depressing... still hope to read it soon anyway. I like your cover!

  6. This disease scares the heck out of me.
    My mom and all her siblings had it and
    now I am 64 and terrified of it because
    my mom had Altzheimers at 69.
    I really wonder how many years I have left.
    Scary, scary.

  7. This book just rocked me to my core. I was sobbing at the end. If you are interested, here is my review of the book:

    And just to let you know, the original hostess and creator of Show Me 5 Saturday is back to blogging so I won't be hosting anymore! (Although I will be participating.) : )

  8. I loved this book! It touched me so deeply. I used to work as a social worker in a nursing home, and my grandmother died from this disease last July. I liked that it was told from Alice's point of view. It made you keep looking at her as a person. You could feel her frustrations, anger, and fear. I know I already said it, but I absolutely loved the book!

  9. I used to work in a nursing home as well on the alzheimer's/dementia unit. I met so many amazing people there, and they all broke my heart. One of them was only in his mid-fifties with early onset. It's such a terrible disease, and reading about it really recalls so many memories and heartbreaks for me that I'm not sure I'd be able to read this book. I'm glad it's out there to help inform people, though.

  10. I read this one too. It was heavy and hard to read though i did think it was written well. You can tell the author was educated in the world of psychology and medicine with how wordy it was. i agree.

  11. This sounds interesting (interesting meme, too!), but I don't imagine that I'd be able to read through the book. I remember the first time I read Almost Adam (now one of my favs) where the author defined anthropological and paleontological terms. I was downright offended, as someone who was, at the time, planning on studying paleoanthropology. Over time, however, I've discovered that a tendency to use medical or scientific terms in a story makes it read more like a textbook, and if you don't have a particularly keen interest in the specific area of science (in this case, obviously medicine), then it might be easy to become detached from the book.

    I keep looking for easy reads lately, too. I'm VERY behind on my reading challenge :(

  12. Thank you all for your comments - interesting how varied they are and how different the responses to reading Still Alice.

    I've come to the conclusion that for those who start with having had personal experience with Alzeimers/dementia have expectations like booktobook says " it really recalls so many memories and heartbreaks for me that I'm not sure I'd be able to read this book." That is how I felt.
    I think perhaps the knowing what you're going to read means the response is not as emotional as for someone with no experience.

    Mari....sorry, obviously it is very emotional for some.

    Becki's definitely not a text book. :)

    JoAnn ......pity your book club rejected. I think it would be a marvellous book for discussion and not necessarily depressing.

    Definitely worth reading.

  13. Cat, thanks for stopping by recently; I appreciate that. I LOVED Still ALice and was happy to see you liked it too. To me it read like non fiction.