Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

In spite of the delicate subject matter, I am so happy I read Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I considered putting it down when I realized what the book was about, but thankfully, I did not.
I have a sister-in-law, also named Lisa, who’s mother was diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s disease at a young age. I remember Lisa, a strong, funny woman and natural caregiver, telling me stories of the progression of her mother’s disease and the struggles she and her family endured.
In turns tragic, frustrating, poignant and comical, life with Alzheimer’s is a difficult one for everyone involved. I remember seeing Lisa’s mother changing before our very eyes and how I felt whenever I was around her.
I felt uncomfortable and embarrassed. And that embarrasses me to this day.
Still Alice is a moving story of a fifty year old woman in the prime of her life and career being diagnosed and living with early on-set Alzheimer’s disease. Written in first person, this novel delves into the progression of a fatal disease and what it means for the life of a YOUNG woman with a brilliant career, happy marriage and growing family.
But, it is so beautifully written ... elegantly blending medical facts with extremely raw human emotion. Amazingly, I found it extremely uplifting! Sometimes we have to understand (and having lost loved ones to fatal illnesses over the last decade, it’s something I have firsthand experience with) that, although a life is altered and, sadly, shortened, it is still a life worth living and respecting.

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