Still Alice by Lisa GenovaStill Alice by Lisa Genovasticker-burst

Still Alice

byLisa Genova

Paperback | January 6, 2009

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In Lisa Genova’s extraordinary New York Times bestselling novel, an accomplished woman slowly loses her thoughts and memories to Alzheimer’s disease—only to discover that each day brings a new way of living and loving. Now a major motion picture starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth, and Kristen Stewart!

Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring, and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what it’s like to literally lose your mind...

Reminiscent of A Beautiful Mind, Ordinary People, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Still Alice packs a powerful emotional punch and marks the arrival of a strong new voice in fiction.

Heather's Review

I read the publisher’s jacket copy of Still Alice and decided the last thing I wanted to read was a story about a woman who gets Alzheimer’s. How fortunate that I decided to crack open this little jewel. You will be drawn into this story from the first paragraph and become totally connected to the unfolding life of Alice Howland. Ali...

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Lisa Genova has a degree in Biopsychology, from Bates College, and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University. Lisa is the author of the New York Times Bestselling novel STILL ALICE. Her second novel is LEFT NEGLECTED. She lives with her family on Cape Cod.
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Title:Still AliceFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.25 × 5.44 × 0.8 inPublished:January 6, 2009Publisher:Gallery BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1439102813

ISBN - 13:9781439102817

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book! such a well written book. throughly enjoyed.
Date published: 2017-10-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great An amazing book that everyone should read
Date published: 2017-10-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great story; narration a bit disappointing This was a nice quick listen this week while not feeling well. I liked the story itself just as much as when I read it in print years ago. I only had one issue. I have always thought that having the author narrate their own book would be ideal because they would know the book intimately. I discovered, at least in this case, that I was wrong. I enjoyed listening to Left Neglected much more than this one. The author narrated this one herself, but it took me quite a while to get into the story because she really had very little voice inflection. I have been spoiled by narrators such as Kristine Hvam who does every voice differently, so I was disappointed. It's still a good story, regardless, but it just takes longer to warm up to her reading style.
Date published: 2017-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recommended! I bought this book because I work in the health field and work daily with alzheimers. Once I put my head into the book I could not put it down! Definitely worth reading!!
Date published: 2017-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it! Will recommend to everyone! A story which ask me many questions, about love, family, career and relationship.
Date published: 2017-09-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I finally read it! I was very touched by this novel. The characters are flawed, real. Their love for each other is palpable, and their anguish is so easily imaginable. You can't help but grieve for their loss. My own grandmother suffered from dementia as a result of a very aggressive brain cancer. She began repeating herself far more than was to be expected at her age, became easily lost in the familiar, and near the end of her life, was often unsure of the time of day or which meal she was eating. While we miss her every day, we are grateful that the cancer took her body before the dementia had taken full hold of her mind. To her very last day, although she had a bit of trouble with our names, she always knew who we were in relation to her and always lit up when she saw our faces. As a cognitive psychologist, I find it rather surprising that it took Alice so long to come to the conclusion that something was wrong with her, and even more surprising that her diagnosis was such a shock. I also had trouble with John's character. His typical reaction's to Alice's illness were ones of annoyance and frustration over how inconvenient Alzheimer's was to his life, rather than ones of concern and devotion... John should have either been portrayed more sympathetically OR their relationship issues should have been delved into. As it stands, he just comes across as an unfeeling jackass most of the time.
Date published: 2017-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Part of the cure is in our hands Still Alice is an amazing book - not solely because it is well researched, or that it invites us to see things from the angle of a person who is afflicted with Alzheimer's disease, from the perspective of a family that comes to term and learn to care for one of their own, but the portrayal of an individual who lives with dignity, through a difficult journey to understand the important components of life. I thank Lisa Genova for using her gifts (as a neuroscientist and a novelist) to spread the words in such a touching way. For researchers of neurodegenerative diseases, please know that you are not simply dealing with molecules or chemicals to try to solve a puzzle, but we thank you for contributing to the saving of lives. At the same time, research can only do so much to seek a cure to the disease, if without the support and care of family members, friends, and the public. Many of us are probably unaware of the misguided image we have on Alzheimer's, when all the exposure we have are from daily humours such as these: "I kept on forgetting things, I must have Alzheimer's," said Miss A. "How can you have left it on the kitchen top again, go check on your Alzheimer's," said Mr. B. From now on, let us go beyond this, knowing full well that part of the cure is in our hands.
Date published: 2017-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One to read This is one of the best books I've read. Good for all ages. Well-described and told from the beginning to the end. In retrospect after finish reading the book, the author began dropping subtle hints/symptoms at the very start before escalation. Beautiful read.
Date published: 2017-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I couldn't put this book down. An amazingly well written and a fantastic read.
Date published: 2017-08-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully Crafted This novel is a powerful account of the harsh reality of Alzheimer's disease. The book is very powerful but relate-able. The novel is a honest account on how Alzheimer's disease affects the individual and also their loved ones. I highly recommend this novel, especially for individuals who have someone in their life that is struggling with the disease.
Date published: 2017-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Five stars book I finished this book for two days. I became Alice's family member. I was with her every minute and tried to support her.
Date published: 2017-08-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Touching and Scary Book This book engaged me right from the start. It gave me all the feels as I went though Alice's journey with her and got brought into her life as it disappears from her. Bring tissues.
Date published: 2017-08-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So so so good Such a good book to read for a book club or for pleasure.
Date published: 2017-07-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Heavy This book really gets into the psychological aspects of how the person feels when all this is happening to them and it was really heartbreaking at times. I feel like I know a whole lot more about Alzheimer's than I did before so I would reccommend you to check it out
Date published: 2017-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful book After years of watching someone very close to me suffer from Alzheimer’s, this was a very difficult book to read for me, but it helped me to understand it from their perspective. It is an emotional read that many times left me in tears. Deeply moving, but I would highly recommend it.
Date published: 2017-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional Such a touching and vivid depiction on how an individual's life is altered by Alzheimer's as well as everyone surrounding them. I would recommend this to anyone!
Date published: 2017-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking I watched the movie afterwards, and the book is ALWAYS better! Such a tough story but very real!
Date published: 2017-07-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from loved the book difficult subject matter. many of us have relatives with Alzheimers . beautiful book, sensitively written. Love all Lisa Genova's books.
Date published: 2017-07-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book I've done a few clinical placements in long term care homes, so I have a some knowledge of people dealing with Alzheimer's. It was an interesting read to have the point of view of a person's mental condition slowly declining. Definitely hit me emotionally when putting it into this perspective.
Date published: 2017-06-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good read I hadn't watched the movie yet when I picked this up. Dealing with Alzheimer's is a scary thing, I could not imagine living with this when memories are so important to me. Watching someone go through this must be as painful.
Date published: 2017-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this I read the book before watching the movie, as I always do as the books are usually better. I loved this book, it was a great read. Coming from a family where Alzheimer's is a issue it was so easy to relate to this book, and definitely give you a look at life through their eyes
Date published: 2017-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent I found this book fascinating and hard to put down. At first I thought it was based on a real person but as I read I realized that this clearly could not have been the case. I wonder how much of what Alice thinks and feels is accurate for people with Alzheimer's, especially the early onset version. It was so incredibly sad at times and I could totally see Alice as a real person. The author did a great job of really developing emotions in her characters without being overly descriptive and preachy about the choices one should make in their lives. There were some slow parts in the book where I skimmed but overall great read.
Date published: 2017-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourites This book drew me into Alice's life with Alzheimer's in a way I didn't expect. The first hand account made it all the more heartbreaking, and it's stayed with me throughout my career in healthcare
Date published: 2017-06-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Instructive and captivating! I've read all of Lisa Geneva's books, and I love how she portrays the reality of a medical condition, as much for the person living it and how it impacts the family/support system. I read "still Alice" years ago and I remember it. Still have the watch the movie.
Date published: 2017-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Will stick with you After working with seniors with Alzheimers I can say this book eloquently recounts the effect on persons and their families
Date published: 2017-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from all time fav Great read, hits you right in the feels
Date published: 2017-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this Book! Read this book in a day, even during my workout couldnt put it down
Date published: 2017-05-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read Easy read, heartbreaking and touching all at the same time.
Date published: 2017-05-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thoughtful book, Quick Read A thoughtful book that presents Alzheimer's disease in a way that is easy to understand, and that offers the reader a glimpse into the mind. I found that it offered a solid foundation of what one's experience could be like (the appointments, the cognitive testing, the loss of dignity). Some of the characters did feel a little simplistic and to only have "one note" however overall the book was good and made for a quick read.
Date published: 2017-05-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Emotionally Compelling I broke with my usual tradition and watched the film before I read the book. I am a fan of both. I felt that the writing really made the struggles of each of the characters real and relatable. I am not sure (because I have no personal experience) if the book accurately portrays Alzheimer's, but I do think that it is a beautifully written book.
Date published: 2017-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Title resembles how she must feel This book was so touching and you feel the love and sadness at the same time.
Date published: 2017-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the Best! This thoughtful, insightful and heartbreaking novel was one that I was so happy I bought. I had heard from friends and colleagues that it was a phenomenal read, but I was truly blown away. Genova brings Alice and her whole family to life, understanding the intricacies of Alice's personality, thoughts, interests and passions while being witness to how these things that make Alice...well..."Alice" deteriorate pulls at your heart strings. Alice is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, the fear of the diagnosis is terrifying, but what we don't necessarily understand is how overwhelming and tiring it can be for not only the caregiver, but the actual patient. Alice brings life to those that are affected and often overlooked with minimal support. The reader sees how it breaks down and challenges some relationships, and helps build others. A read you will not regret, I promise.
Date published: 2017-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional Exceptional and well written but sad.
Date published: 2017-04-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from it was okay their was no point to the plot
Date published: 2017-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good read Well thought out story very believable. Couldn't put it down
Date published: 2017-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional Exceptional book. Hit close to home as I had a grandmother with alzeheimers.
Date published: 2017-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from deeply impacting The clarity of writing and the prespective taken left me feeling worried about my own memory lapses. Truly, I had trouble shaking this.
Date published: 2017-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read Such an extraordinary look at this horrific diesease and the impact on not only Alice but family, friends and colleagues. A different perspective when seen through Alice's eyes. Truly well written.
Date published: 2017-04-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Still Alice well written, though sad read. Lisa Genova brings a unique perspective to story telling and make awareness of the disease.
Date published: 2017-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written With her background Lisa Genova brings such a unique perspective to story telling. I love how she made Alice's story unique yet relatable. This is a great, albeit sad read.
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Well done, interesting read. Very interesting read - gives a very detailed look into what might be going on inside the mind of someone with Alzheimer's. It was interesting to see Alice's perception of people's reactions to her memory issues, both framed in awareness of her mistakes, and also at times when she wouldn't be aware. I also appreciated the exploration of the different relationships in her life and how they were impacted. Gave me a different appreciation for the struggles people with dementia must experience. Well done, interesting read. Would certainly recommend it.
Date published: 2017-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth the read Was debating reading this for a long time because of the subject matter (since it hits close to home), but I am glad that I did. Lisa brings the reality and great insight to the victims and families hit by dementia.
Date published: 2017-03-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from not as good as I hoped decent read; a bit slow at times but not bad.
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from READ THIS BOOK! This, and everything else by Lisa Genova, is fantastic prose. Such a heartbreaking look into the world of early onset alzheimer's dementia.
Date published: 2017-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Accurate This is great read, and give's a great representation of the impacts of dementia on the individual, their families, and their life.
Date published: 2017-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from seeing life through alice's life i loved this book, it really makes you think about your own life after reading/seeing hers
Date published: 2017-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful Read the book before the movie - as i usually do - as a movie will never be as good as a book - and this book was very emotional :(
Date published: 2017-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Great book very insightful
Date published: 2017-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it This book was absolutely amazing. It truly makes you appreciate and see life in a different light. Must read.
Date published: 2017-03-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Alice. Seeing life from her eyes was great - so many of us do not know enough. Such a good read.
Date published: 2017-03-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Emotional Read A great book, I could not put it down. Quite an emotional read.
Date published: 2017-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Emotional This book was a very emotional read! Alzheimer's has affected my family... so this book struck a nerve with me. Excellent read.
Date published: 2017-02-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wow This book was beautifully written! You really sense the struggle the character goes through! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! Loved it! Beautifully woven story that you will soon not forget!
Date published: 2017-02-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from 3.5 stars This book had so much potential to tell a powerful story of such a terrible disease. Fell a little short for me. Too many information drops at once and felt a little too much like a clinical pamphlet. As a work of fiction (albeit, realist fiction), the ending had so much potential to take it from a good book to a great book. The fact that it is endorsed by the Alzeheimer’s Association is a definite plus. Wanted to rate it a 3.5 but rounded down to a 3 because chapters doesn't allow half star reviews
Date published: 2017-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking and fantastic Lisa Genova excels at writing fully-formed, well-rounded characters that feel multi-dimensional and real. That realism is what tugs on your heartstrings as you follow Alice on her journey, from her initial diagnosis onward, as she grapples with what this will mean for her identity. Loved it, would highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book As a family that had a parent who is experienced Alzheimer's you have no idea how it affects a family and this book will give you a look inside a family who does.This book is a must read.
Date published: 2017-02-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from WOW I just wanted to cry with her family. If you have someone you know going through this, I would not recommend it really hits home, but otherwise a really great book. Very honest and powerful
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Brilliant This is an amazing story. If you have family or not who,are experiencing Alzheimer's this book is a much read.
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good but sad/realistic I thought this was well written and had an excellent point of view but I found this book to be very sad because it made me realize how people with alzheimer are/would live. The storyline seem very realistic which was refreshing.
Date published: 2017-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Very real, very raw, very touching. Definitely recommend it.
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Difficult to Read - but important This book provided me with insight into what it would be feel like to have Alzheimer's and dementia. This is important to understand what people are going through, but it was a little bit scary to place myself so intensely into this character's situation.
Date published: 2017-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Recommend? Yes! Quite a book, a definite recommend.
Date published: 2017-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book! This is a wonderful book, although tough to read at times.
Date published: 2017-02-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Emotional read! Very scary what can happen to our minds. I really feel for anyone who has to deal with the awful disease of Alzheimer's
Date published: 2017-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing. I thought the movie was great, but this book broke my heart in so many more ways. Knowing people who are struggling with this, it hit close to home and made me reevaluate a lot of things. Thank you.
Date published: 2017-01-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Brilliant This novel pin points exactly what is like for someone living with Alzheimer's. It's tragic, yet eye-opening. I found it to be brilliant and compelling.
Date published: 2017-01-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Read This book was a good read on a scary topic. I was paranoid for a long time after reading it about when I would forget little things. I think the author shed a different light on the topic of Alzheimers
Date published: 2017-01-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good book Was definitely tearing up while sitting on a plane! Kept my attention throughout for sure!
Date published: 2017-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still Alice Great book. I learned a lot about Alzheimer’s.
Date published: 2017-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read! I really enjoyed this book. It touches on some real issues and makes you think about the future. Not only was it a great story, it was very informative and helped educate me on a topic that I knew embarrassingly little about. Overall, really great read!
Date published: 2017-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thoroughly enjoyed this one! Great insight into the stages of Alzheimer's disease and the life experiences
Date published: 2017-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great novel This book opened my eyes to the truth of Alzheimer's. I cried over and over again reading this novel. It is beautifully written on such an emotional level about truth.
Date published: 2017-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent Read Don't pass up just from reading the jacket. Great read you won't be disappointed.
Date published: 2017-01-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sad but true This is a sad but insightful read.
Date published: 2017-01-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Still Alice I got this as a gift and it was very good! The narrative makes you feel as if you are in Alice's head. It was sad and hard to put down!
Date published: 2017-01-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Read! This book both terrified me and made me laugh. Couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Read this book over the course of two days. The story is completely heartbreaking , funny and a page turner!
Date published: 2017-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Haunting and Beautiful This book describes my biggest fear and so accurately captures early onset dementia in a way that is easily relatable and extremely powerful. This is a must read - the movie was terrible compared to the holy grail page turner that was this book.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful I found this book funny and heartbreaking and uplifting. Beautifully written
Date published: 2016-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well Written I read this book years ago and thoroughly enjoyed this book. It made me cry, made me laugh. Well written and beautifully done. I was skeptical to see the movie but was very impressed on how well they captured the book.
Date published: 2016-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully done Although heartbreaking, this book is so well written.
Date published: 2016-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read for any nurse! I am a nurse, who has seen Alzheimer's disease affect my family. I read this story and it gave me a whole new level of compassion and understanding to those enduring this disease and their families.
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a heart-breaking and well-woven story This book was amazing and I honestly think everyone needs to read it. The best books are written by authors who "write what they know" and this book is no exception. It is clear that an immense amount of work went into this book in order to make it seem like a realistic account of early onset Alzheimer's disease. The author used experiences within her own family, the personal experiences of others, and actual medical research to write Alice's story. The way the book is written made me feel for the characters and what they were experiencing. So many emotions poured out of me and I could not put the book down because I wanted so badly to see what would happen to Alice. I cried multiple times throughout the book or found that even though I didn't want to put the book down, I'd have to do so for a few minutes just to recompose myself. I know I will not forget this book in the near future. I have already been recommending it to several people. In fact, I found myself recommending it when I hadn't even finished reading it. The only problem I have with the book is the ending. I did not like the ending because it felt unfinished and unresolved. I mean maybe reading about Alice's death would have been emotionally scarring, but I wish there was a more concrete ending to the book. But, once again, I was already quite emotionally invested in the story by that point so maybe cutting the ties between reader and character at that point was a good way to end it.
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from love it! Not my usual type of read but I really loved this book very sad and engaging would recommend. Even saw the movie!
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautifully sad story An eye opening book that gives insight and awareness to the disease. I would recommend this to anyone!
Date published: 2016-11-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thought-provoking This book covers a topic that is not often discussed, early on-set Alzheimer's. It continuously pulls on the heart strings as Alice's mental capabilities deteriorate, it's a wonderful yet sad story.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read Still Alice is a very hard book to read. It's an extremely sad and poignant book, and it deals with very difficult issues... It's also a story I believe everyone should read at least once. This book will change you and your view of Alzheimer's disease. Lisa Genova wrote this book from the perspective of Alice, who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's at the age of fifty. Therefore, Still Alice offers an inside view on how a person lives with Alzheimer's. And AD patient does still live. It's an important message the author gets across. Still Alice teaches a lesson: people suffering with Alzheimer's disease still matter, their feelings still need to be considered, and their opinion and what they can bring to the world is still important. This book will also make you realize that the only thing you have some control over is now. You might forget yesterday, and you might not be sure of tomorrow, but you can live today. The point of view chosen by the author also makes the reader experience everything Alice goes through: the confusions, the forgetfulness, the disorientation, and all the frustration and sadness. It makes the book interesting, realistic, and rich. Still Alice is beautifully written and is definitely one of the best books I have read so far. It's one of my all-time favorites for sure. Simply amazing!
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Absolutely beautifully written. It really touches the heart.
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book! This book is beautifully written and tells heartbreaking reality about Alzheimer’s. It is definitely eye opening and gives insight and awareness to the disease. I would recommend this to anyone!
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful read Still Alice was the first book by Lisa Genova I read and it quickly became one of the best books I've ever read! It was beautifully written from Alice’s POV about how she recognizes her symptoms, her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and ultimately how her condition takes over. It was a very moving and highly emotional story in which I would highly recommend!
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Impossible not to fell her frustration Incredibly well written and eye opening to the frustration and terrifying nature of loosing your words.
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Hits close to home #plumreview A sad and truthful book about a horrible disease. Difficult to read when there is a family connection.
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved this book what a beautiful book. really puts a terrible disease out there for people to become educated. great book
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking I thought this was extremely well written. It feels like you inhabit the mind of someone suffering from Alzheimer's, and feel what they feel as their mind slowly slips away from them. As well, the tough topic of the inheritability of Alzheimer's is tackled, which adds further depth to the story. - great read. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic from Start to Finish Before undergoing this novel you might be inclined to feel intimidated. Will the story focus too much on the biological and scientific aspect of Alzheimer's, or will it simply be too saddening to bear? While the novel does go through some scientific detail, and it certainly has its depressing moments, it is an altogether wonder to read. It managers to completely encapsulate the reader from the very first page and keeps them fully occupied until the very last paragraph. This book was happy, sad, emotional, specific, vague, exciting, depressing, and everything else all at once.
Date published: 2016-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from tear jerker this book left me in tears - highly suggest if you want a new perspective on Alzheimer's #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WTF It's hard to go on after reading this. What a ride. And the pain?! Oh my God the pain! It squeezed my heart and I was left in a daze for a while. It literally affected my mood for a few days. The illness is just a horrible experience for everyone involved but I'm so glad Lisa Genova brought us on this ride. It had to be done. Astonishing!
Date published: 2016-08-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOVED IT! Genuine, will make you cry and laugh and then cry again!
Date published: 2016-07-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really good book! This book stays in your mind, very well written, I passed it on and they passed it on!
Date published: 2016-06-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I often start reading books and then lose interest in them quickly, but I was very invested in the main character's story and finished the book quickly. After reading the book, I immediately watched the movie but I was a bit disappointed with it and definitely preferred the book.
Date published: 2016-05-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Book That can Scare You I read this book for my Toastmaster Book Club awhile ago. Alice is a fifty year old university professor that is at the top of her field. Students want to be in her class. She is invited to speak at other universities. Her husband is successful and her children are doing well. Then she starts to forget little things. Then big things. Her life changes in ways she could never imagined. Alzheimer's disease was not in the plans. This book scared me. I am close to the same age as the lead character. I started to think I had it every time I forgot something. Sometimes a good book makes you think. The lead character was well developed and the transition that her character made very believable. I was put off by the character of the husband at one point. I realize that it was part of the story, but the change in him at certain points was hard to follow at times. I enjoyed this book immensely. If you want to know more about the disease. Start here and do more research. I recommend this book.
Date published: 2015-12-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great novel She is a fantastic writer, this is an indepth story giving us an empathetic view on how a disease affects person and family, and what really matters in life.
Date published: 2015-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A fascinating read A great example of bringing real life issues to the forefront. The story of Alice was absolutely fascinating, her transition with early onset Alzheimer's brings the reader into the lens of those who may be affected by this disease. Excellent writing and a great read.
Date published: 2015-10-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Powerful perspective An easy read with a new perspective that touches the heart. Happy I experienced this touching story.
Date published: 2015-08-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good book, just not as good as I expected. I did enjoy this book for the most part. It is not a bad book by any means. I just thought it lacked depth in certain areas. It was very informative regarding Alzheimer's disease, but I wish i knew more about all the characters thoughts and feelings.
Date published: 2015-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Riveting I hesitated reading this book but once started I could not put it down. What makes the book so powerful is that it is written from Alice's perspective. I highly recommend reading it.
Date published: 2015-07-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Read it in a day! Couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2015-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still Alice I think this book should be required reading for everyone. The truth about dimentia from inside and out. What a great read-information guide!
Date published: 2015-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply Amazing! Still Alice is a very hard book to read. It's an extremely sad and poignant book, and it deals with very difficult issues... It's also a story I believe everyone should read at least once. This book will change you and your view of Alzheimer's disease. Lisa Genova wrote this book from the perspective of Alice, who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's at the age of fifty. Therefor, Still Alice offers an inside view on how a person lives with Alzheimer's. And AD patient still do live. It's an important message the author gets across. Still Alice teaches a lesson: people suffering with Alzheimer's disease still matter, their feelings still need to be considered, and their opinion and what they can bring to the world is still important. This book will also make you realize that the only thing you have some control over is now. You might forget yesterday, and you might not be sure of tomorrow, but you can live today. The point of view chosen by the author also makes the reader experience everything Alice goes through: the confusions, the forgetfulness, the disorientation, and all the frustration and sadness. It makes the book interesting, realistic, and rich. Still Alice is beautifully written and is definitely one of the best books I have read so far. It's going on my favorites shelf for sure. Simply amazing!
Date published: 2015-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding This was one of the best books I have read in a long time. I was right there with Alice. I cried for her and for me, putting myself in her shoes
Date published: 2015-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still Alice . Captured my interest immediately. This is happening more and more .Would recommend it to anyone .Allows us to appretiate our health .
Date published: 2015-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still Alice Although fictional, the author has done tremendous research into alzheimers disease and I found that so many instances described in this book ring so true with my own Mother who has dementia. Great insite as to how those with this disease think and feel and makes the reader realize that those inflicted are still our loved ones and need to be treated with love and respect.
Date published: 2015-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great I really enjoyed reading this book. It was very well written and opened my eyes to what Alzeimers can be like
Date published: 2015-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eye opening Even as a nurse I never thought much about what my dementia patients went through or wrre goimg through. I never realized what it would be like for them to slowly lose themselves. This book was eye opening and enlightening. I wish that I would have read I while attended university for my BScNursing, and that it was required reading for health professionals.
Date published: 2015-05-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really Enjoyable Book I really enjoyed this book and Lisa Genova's other books, I can appreciate her medical background and that her themes may not be happy ones but important still the same.
Date published: 2015-05-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Sad, but important message I liked this book but I didn't love it. Some parts I found boring and others were riveting. The one thing I really liked about this book was the fact that the author started the story when Alice was already ill. I felt bad for her and sympathized, but in a disconnected way, like a friend of a friend of a friend kind of thing. I think if the author had written more about the Alice before she became ill, this book would have been too devastating to read. I prefer not having known that Alice. I think I might watch the movie, it will be interesting to see what they did with the story.
Date published: 2015-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still Alice This book was so interesting that it hard to put down. A person going through this disease is devasting for them, but also their families. Very well written book. I did a lot of crying while reading this.
Date published: 2015-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still Alice by Lisa Genova An excellent read. Written from the perspective of a woman suffering from early onset Alzheimer's disease, this book gives a poignant yet never maudlin depiction of what Alice feels as she slips deeper and deeper into the claws of Alzheimer's. Never boring, it is a page-turner that gives us an honest but not too technical idea of what it is to have Alzheimer's. A book I highly recommend!
Date published: 2015-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well worth the read Gripping and infomative, and a bit too cl0se to home. A great insight to a fearsom disease. Looking forward to the next read.
Date published: 2015-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So realistic it hurts This story touched me in the same way that Alzheimers and early-onset Alzheimers has touched our family. Although it is a work of fiction, the author has researched the subject thoroughly and the book depicts this disease in the most realistic way. The author has gotten into the mind of the person with this condition and the story gripped me until the end. Sometimes poignantly funny, sometimes heartbreaking... always a compelling read. I loved it.
Date published: 2015-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Life This book was amazing. Make sure you have tissues handy. My Grandmother had Alzheimer's and it was heartbreaking.
Date published: 2015-04-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still Alice This book certainly put Alzheimer's into a very relatable disease. It's almost scary as the reader discovers that no one is totally immune from this frightening disease. But it gives hope to those with a genetic disposition - especially in the form of genetic testing and accurate accounts of current research findings. I couldn't put the book down. I'm sincerely hoping there will be a sequel, perhaps chronicalling from the husband's or childrens' viewpoints! A totally captivating read!!
Date published: 2015-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spell binding. An interesting commentary of how someone with dimension sees the world, from the time first diagnosed until the illness worsens. You cannot help but being drawn into Alice's thoughts and life.
Date published: 2015-04-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Still Alice This should be a must read for anyone who has or had a family member with dementia. The author shows remarkable insight to the person with dementia and the impact on family members.
Date published: 2015-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still Alice An amazing depiction of a real person and how she feels and sees life with the horrible desease "Early Onset Alzheimer's".
Date published: 2015-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking Touching, heartbreaking, and yet terrifying as well. The thought that this could possibly happen to you is always at the back of your mind while reading. Gives you a much greater understand of what Alzheimer's suffers go through.
Date published: 2015-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still alice A must read, the novel is writren in first person and tells the story of early onset Alzheimers from Alice's perspecrive. A compelling story of ones will to live and to be treated as a membee of society. Emotional amd real, It helped me ro relate to what my friend is expeeiencing rhis joueney wirh hwe dsthee amd coisin with his wife. No one is immune.
Date published: 2015-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wonderful book This book was an emotional read, especially since I have had an Aunt pass from Alzheimer's and my boyfriends Grandmother is battling dementia. I love reading books from people's perspectives. Will definitely re-read this book.
Date published: 2015-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still Alice Wow! What an emotional read. Some pages had me smiling to myself, others had left me with a tear in my eye. I would read this again, and again.
Date published: 2015-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible One of my favourite books. I read it 3 years ago and I still think about it and recommend it to anyone looking for something new to read.
Date published: 2015-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read This book brought me to tears, it is so well written I couldn't put it down. Lisa Genova did such an amazing job capturing each emotion explicitly! there was not a single character which was out of proportion. I dont normally read tragic books like this, but Lisa Genova has made me her fan. she ended the book at a beautiful note but it left me craving for more, and three days after reading the book I am still thinking about it, it definitely touched my heart. the story flows smoothly without any hitch, every character was written beautiful and the emotions were spot on. I recommend this book to everyone!
Date published: 2015-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really enthralling This book was so well-written and takes you through so many intricacies of the experience of Alzheimer's. The characters were so real I found myself feeling so emotional that I even needed to vent about the book to my husband! Absolutely excellent!
Date published: 2015-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Still Alice was such a touching book about the struggle of having Alzheimer's early on in life. The struggles that Alice has to face every minute of her day luckly her family helps her fill in the blanks. I have learned a lot from this story and would recommend this book to anyone.
Date published: 2015-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Amazing Journey Through Alzheimer's As a Nurse working with Alzheimer's and Dementia residents I was touched by this book. It is a real journey through the mind of someone coping with the disease. It is difficult for family and caregivers to see their loved one cope with this disease. We need to keep in mind the person who is living with it themselves and what they struggle with.
Date published: 2015-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Remarkable Debut Novel I read this book about two years ago while trying to understand and help my mother-in-law and the family cope with her illness. This book describes the events from the patient's point of view so simply and realistically. Two years later, I am considering reading it again. Lisa Genova is such an amazing writer and my interest in neuroscience lead me to read her other books that followed, namely "Left Neglected" and "Love Anthony".
Date published: 2015-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still Alice is Phenomenal! My sister gifted me this book for Christmas and what a gift it is. This is the story of a successful, if somewhat OCD, woman who has her life and career on track - after having worked while her husband first got his education finished and career started; raised two children - one of whom she has a slight estrangement from and climbed the ladder to obtain her tenured position as a university prof. This is the story of a 'normal' woman coping with the early onset of Alzheimer's and learning to recognize and deal with the signs of her failing cognitive abilities. About how it affects not only her personal and professional lives but, more, about how it affects the way other people - her family, her friends, her associates - react to it and treat her. It is a thought provoking, well written epistle. Everyone should read this book and think about 'what if'.
Date published: 2015-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A ‘must-read’ for anyone dealing with Alzheimer’s in any way, or wanting to know more about what it’s like – from the inside of it. This is a book I discovered at a meeting of our local Alzheimer’s Support Group. I was urged to read it, so months later – when I felt I was ready – I borrowed it. [As an aside: We meet once a month, and I highly recommend that you join a support group if you are a caregiver of anyone with dementia.] At first I put off reading this book. I lent it to my sister to read, she said, “Read it!” I lent it to one of our respite workers, he said, “Read it!” Finally, yesterday .. I read it. This book will open your eyes to, and broaden your understanding of, some of the inner workings of Alzheimer’s disease and what it is like to be its victim. Even though this is a work of fiction, the author did extensive research and study to get it right. It is so very believable. To me, it felt as if I were reading the memoir of an actual person, I felt the frustration and pain of her family, and I laughed out loud at one incident which was both funny because of what happened and sad because of why it happened, and in another place I had tears in my eyes because of the truth of it. This is a painful and terrifying disease. Even as I write this review I feel the emotion of it. Alzheimer’s steals its victim away, a little at a time. Lisa Genova so aptly described the disease through her characters and helped me better understand the cruel reality of what I (and my sister) deal with every day in some capacity. Lisa’s main character, Alice, is a very intelligent, highly regarded and respected professor of cognitive psychology at Harvard University. She and her husband (also a Harvard professor) had brought up their three children and now, at only fifty years of age, Alice knows something is seriously wrong with her memory. She puts off telling anyone and sets out on her own, at first, to find out what is going on. What she learns changes her whole world, and that of her family. The author draws the reader into the lives of Alice and her family in a very smooth and captivating way. I wanted to know, I needed to know, and Lisa does not disappoint as she covers two years in Alice’s life. At the end of the book, there is a section of Discussion Questions for a group, or for personal study of the novel. There is also an interview conversation with Lisa Genova. Lisa Genova, holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard University and Still Alice is her first novel.
Date published: 2014-02-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Still Alice I bought the book a month ago and just could not put it down.I didn't like the ending though as my sister inlaw has alzheimer's for some time now and its a never ending struggle.I just wanted to learn more about this sickness.She was a very smart ladie and I miss her very much.
Date published: 2014-01-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from a bit disappointing This book was just okay for me. I liked how it gave the reader insight to what it's like for the person going through Alzheimer's. I found it interesting and informative. But for a story..everything just kinda came together too easily. The ending left me hanging and dissatisfied.
Date published: 2014-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still Alice was such an amazing book This is one of the rare books that after you finished the last chapter, your thoughts still linger on the conversations and the events that took place for a long time. There was one part when Alice condition was seriously declining and she was attending a seminar where she offered some very brilliant comments about the topic. The participants all nodded their heads appreciatively. (From Alice's perspective: well, even Alzheimer patients did not totally lose their minds. They could still think quite logically and provide useful insights) A few minutes later, totally forgetting she already said those comments, Alice raised the SAME suggestions to the speaker! This time the response she received was cold. People looked away. (From Alice's perspective: people were biased because she had Alzheimer. But even Alzheimer patients could come up with some valuable insights!) What a heart wrenching episode. Not many books could describe the events from the patient's point of view so realistically and so touchingly. I would love to read it the second time!
Date published: 2014-01-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Would Not Recommend After seeing all the hype about this book, I definitely had high expectations. However, I must say I considered taking it back to redeem my $17 I spent to purchase it. I found the story simply repeated the same thing over and over, but it was slightly different as Alice's disease progressed further. I found it a challenge to finish this book and would not suggest it.
Date published: 2013-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Buy this book now! The story of Alice is heart breaking. I couldn't put this book down. Read about the strength of a woman who slowly forgets the people she loves around her. I highly recommend this book. One of the best books I have ever read.
Date published: 2012-09-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking but fantastic Really well written novel. Enjoyed every minute of it, even through the tough parts. Can hit a little close to home if you are close to someone with Early Onset Alzheimers, but it's interesting to read it from the perspective of a character with the disease. Really opens your eyes on the whole subject. All in all, really great read.
Date published: 2012-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! What an amazing novel. Gives you such insight into Early On Set Alzheimer's, through the eyes of the person who has the illness. Very moving and thought provoking, heartbreaking at times. Makes you think about your own life and how you would deal with having a loved one with Alzheimer's or having the diagnosis yourself. Absolutely loved it!
Date published: 2012-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Haunting Such an amazing book, It left me screaming out NO after it was over, i wanted to know more
Date published: 2012-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Amazing Debut! ***MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS*** Still Alice is exactly what I came to expect when I picked up Lisa Genova’s debut novel, which was released in 2008. The main character, Alice, is a 50-year-old professor at Harvard. Organized, efficient, highly-educated, smart, and sharp, she never thought in her wildest dreams that someone like her could be diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers. Just like with Genova’s second novel, Left Neglected, Still Alice is written in great detail—Genova obviously does her research quite carefully (and being a neurologist-turned-writer, I would expect no less). Still Alice doesn’t rush itself—the diagnoses of Alice comes after she notices changes in her memory and starts having symptoms she attributes to monopause. At first, Alice’s memory lapses are the same kind that anyone could have—forgetting a certain word, misplacing items, not recognizing cues on her to-do list. But as the months go by, the symptoms get more and more severe. I really appreciate how Genova wrote Still Alice by having each chapter outline a month in Alice’s life, so the reader can see how quickly the disease progressed. It’s disconcerting to think that within just a year (the book span is a mere 2 years), Alice’s symptoms advanced as much as they did. One of the most notable parts of the novel, in my mind, that showcased the symptoms Alice was put up against was when Alice was preparing for a class she taught regularly. Rushing off to class, telling herself that they can’t start with her, she enters the room with the mindset that she’s a student—waiting the encouraged 20 minutes before leaving the class with the rest of her students because the professor—Alice—did not show up. Another part that really hit home for me was when Alice and her husband are at their cottage for the summer. John, her husband, has been asked to run with Alice, since she could get disoriented and not know where she is or where she should be going. John asks her if she’s ready to go for a run, Alice goes in for a fleece, sees a book on the nightstand, grabs it, and proceeds to go to the porch to read. When John asks if they’re going for a run, she says she needs to use the bathroom first. John goes to wait outside and Alice gets disoriented in her own house and can’t find the bathroom in time. One of the things Alice is disappointed about is that soon she won’t be able to read—even trying to comprehend a simple conversation is difficult at times—and there are so many books she wants to devour! Reading this made me sad—I can’t even fathom what it would be like to lose the ability to read, to lose the ability to put words and sentences together. The fact that Alzheimers snuck up on Alice so early in life—a disease that usually attacks in the 60th or 70th years—really made me think, as a reader. Leaving the novel, you’ll want to devour all the books that have been sitting, neglected, on your nightstand. You’ll want to do things that have been sitting, undone, on your to-do list. Those things you’ve always dreamed of doing? Travel, bungee jumping, taking that art class, or learning to ski—you’ll want to do that after reading Still Alice because you’ll realize that life is too short to be wasted. “My yesterdays are disappearing, and my tomorrows are uncertain, so what do I live for? I live for each day. I live in the moment. I will forget today, but that doesn’t mean today didn’t matter.” Genova crafted a beautiful novel. The characters are flesh and blood—you could imagine them being in the same room as you while you read. As I reader, I sympathized with Alice when she had a memory lapse and repeated herself or expressed forgetfulness in front of someone who’s never seen it happen (e.g. asking the same question within minutes at a seminar, having no recollection of previously asking it). I’ve never known anyone who was diagnosed with Alzheimers, but seeing reactions of Alice’s colleagues, family, and friends, I understand how they would act how they did. One can only hope that reading Still Alice will make readers more compassionate towards people who have been thrust into a heartless disintegration. Lisa Genova is a force to be reckoned with. I look forward to reading her next novel and will continue sharing her first two works with everyone I know. A highly recommended author.
Date published: 2012-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Page turner Not many books keep my attention throughout but this is an exception.
Date published: 2011-12-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth Reading Not an easy read since my mom is, in some respect Alice. Would recommend this story to anyone. A book I plan to share.
Date published: 2011-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A truly touching story I have no words to describe how great this book is. It was touching, amazing, outstanding, excellent, fabulous and anything awesome you can think of. I have never cried as much as I did while reading this book. I love the way the author writes, it literally gives you a sense of the deterioration Alzeihmer's has on someone's mind. You could read the progress of the disease and the toll it was having on Alice. I highly recommend this book to everyone. It has changed my life and my outlook and I'm sure it will yours too!
Date published: 2011-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Educational Great book. I learned so much about this awful disease called Alzheimers. Very sad what it can do to a person. The story was very well told, and I would recommend it. I actually am making my mother in law read it. I think she'll love it. : )
Date published: 2011-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible book. I laughed and I cried when I read this book. As someone who has witnessed this disease and seen it rob my grandmother or her memories. I want to scream and tell the world to read this book. It will break your heart over and over again and you will pray to God that you wont learn first hand what Alice and her family went through. Do yourself a favour and read this, for all the Alices out there and to come.
Date published: 2011-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best read in yrs One of the best books I've read in years. I also enjoyed learning so much about the disease.
Date published: 2011-09-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Alzheimers - seen through the eyes of a patient Alice Howland is a 50 year old Harvard professor with three grown children. She has begun to notice some forgetfulness but becomes alarmed when she goes out for her customary run and gets lost. This must be more than menopausal symptoms. It is. A diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimers is devastating. The reader follows Alice through her increasing fogginess and confusion. Her family deals with the disease in varying ways. I found it very difficult to read this book as my mother had Alzheimers. Every test that Alice took, I took and failed. Every single thing I forgot got blown out of proportion. Several of the earlier things that Alice forgot were things that had happened to my mom that the family put down to busyness and forgetfulness. To read the book as through Alice's eyes gave me an insight into my mother's problems. Like Lydia, I took charge and could relate to her. I had a hard time with how John, her husband dealt with the disease. It seemed to me to be selfish and not very caring. A fascinating book from the eyes of an Alzheimer patient.
Date published: 2011-09-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Got to my emotions Enjoyed it so much. My hubby took the book away when I was sobbing out loud 3/4 of the way through the book. I needed to steel it back to finish it. :)
Date published: 2011-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Please read this book. It is an amazing journey through the eyes of an alzheimers patient. It will make you laugh, cry and you will find yourself asking why? For all the Alices' out there, we hear you and we will never forget you....
Date published: 2011-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very appropriate Absolutely a riveting read on a very sad topic - Alzheimer's Disease . Very well written and it keeps your interest - read it over a weekend . Delves into the mind of an early Alzheimer's sufferer , a place we could never imagine before .A must read for everyone .
Date published: 2011-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow ... An Incredible Book!! A MUST READ!! Lisa Genova is an Amazing author! Thank you for this book. You know you love a book when you get towards the end and you try not to read too many pages at once, or you'll finish too soon. I'm still worried about Alice.....
Date published: 2011-06-25

Read from the Book

SEPTEMBER 2003 Alice sat at her desk in their bedroom distracted by the sounds of John racing through each of the rooms on the first floor. She needed to finish her peer review of a paper submitted to the Journal of Cognitive Psychology before her flight, and she'd just read the same sentence three times without comprehending it. It was 7:30 according to their alarm clock, which she guessed was about ten minutes fast. She knew from the approximate time and the escalating volume of his racing that he was trying to leave, but he'd forgotten something and couldn't find it. She tapped her red pen on her bottom lip as she watched the digital numbers on the clock and listened for what she knew was coming. "Ali?" She tossed her pen onto the desk and sighed. Downstairs, she found him in the living room on his knees, feeling under the couch cushions. "Keys?" she asked. "Glasses. Please don't lecture me, I'm late." She followed his frantic glance to the fireplace mantle where the antique Waltham clock, valued for its precision, declared 8:00. He should have known better than to trust it. The clocks in their home rarely knew the real time of day. Alice had been duped too often in the past by their seemingly honest faces and had learned long ago to rely on her watch. Sure enough, she lapsed back in time as she entered the kitchen, where the microwave insisted that it was only 6:52. She looked across the smooth, uncluttered surface of the granite countertop, and there they were, next to the mushroom bowl heaping with unopened mail. Not under something, not behind something, not obstructed in any way from plain view. How could he, someone so smart, a scientist, not see what was right in front of him? Of course, many of her own things had taken to hiding in mischievous, little places as well. But she didn't admit this to him, and she didn't involve him in the hunt. Just the other day, John blissfully unaware, she'd spent a crazed morning looking first all over the house and then in her office for her Blackberry charger. Stumped, she'd surrendered, gone to the store, and bought a new one, only to discover it later that night plugged in the socket next to her side of the bed, where she should have known to look. She could probably chalk it all up for both of them to excessive multitasking and being way too busy. And to getting older. He stood in the doorway, looking at the glasses in her hand, but not at her. "Next time, try pretending you're a woman while you look," said Alice, smiling. "I'll wear one of your skirts. Ali, please, I'm really late." "The microwave says you have tons of time," she said, handing them to him. "Thanks." He grabbed them like a relay runner taking a baton in a race and headed for the front door. "Will you be home when I get back on Saturday?" she asked his back as she followed him down the hallway. "I don't know, I've got a huge day in lab on Saturday." He collected his briefcase, phone, and keys from the hall table. "Have a good trip, give Lydia a hug and kiss for me. And try not to battle with her," said John. She caught their reflection in the hallway mirror -- -a distinguished-looking, tall man with white-flecked brown hair and glasses, a petite, curly-haired woman, her arms crossed over her chest, each readying to leap into that same, bottomless argument. She gritted her teeth and swallowed, choosing not to jump. "We haven't seen each other in a while, please try to be home?" she asked. "I know, I'll try." He kissed her, and although desperate to leave, he lingered in that kiss for an almost imperceptible moment. If she didn't know him better, she might've romanticized his kiss. She might've stood there, hopeful, thinking it said, I love you, I'll miss you. But as she watched him hustle down the street alone, she felt pretty certain he'd just told her, I love you, but please don't be pissed when I'm not home on Saturday. They used to walk together over to Harvard Yard every morning. Of the many things she loved about working within a mile from home and at the same school, their shared commute was the thing she loved most. They always stopped at Jerri's--a black coffee for him, a tea with lemon for her, iced or hot, depending on the season--and continued on to Harvard Square, chatting about their research and classes, issues in their respective departments, their children, or plans for that evening. When they were first married, they even held hands. She savored the relaxed intimacy of these morning walks with him, before the daily demands of their jobs and ambitions rendered them each stressed and exhausted. But for some time now, they'd been walking over to Harvard separately. Alice had been living out of her suitcase all summer, attending psychology conferences in Rome, New Orleans, and Miami, and serving on an exam committee for a thesis defense at Princeton. Back in the spring, John's cell cultures had needed some sort of rinsing attention at an obscene hour each morning, but he didn't trust any of his students to consistently show up. So he did. She couldn't remember the reasons that predated spring, but she knew that each time they'd seemed reasonable and only temporary. She returned to the paper at her desk, still distracted, now by a craving for that fight she didn't have with John about their youngest daughter, Lydia. Would it kill him to stand behind her for once? She gave the rest of the paper a cursory effort, not her typical standard of excellence, but it would have to do, given her fragmented state of mind and lack of time. Her comments and suggestions for revision finished, she packaged and sealed the envelope, guiltily aware that she might've missed an error in the study's design or interpretation, cursing John for compromising the integrity of her work. She repacked her suitcase, not even emptied yet from her last trip. She looked forward to traveling less in the coming months. There were only a handful of invited lectures penciled in her fall semester calendar, and she scheduled most of those on Fridays, a day she didn't teach. Like tomorrow. Tomorrow she would be the guest speaker to kick off Stanford's cognitive psychology fall colloquium series. And afterward, she'd see Lydia. She'd try not to battle with her, but she wasn't making any promises. Alice found her way easily to Stanford's Cordura Hall on the corner of Campus Drive West and Panama Drive. Its concrete, white stucco exterior, terra cotta roof, and lush landscaping looked to her East Coast eyes more like a Caribbean beach resort than an academic building. She arrived quite early but ventured inside anyway, figuring she could use the extra time to sit in the quiet auditorium and look over her talk. Much to her surprise, she walked into an already packed room. A zealous crowd surrounded and circled a buffet table, aggressively diving in for food like seagulls at a city beach. Before she could sneak in unnoticed, she noticed Josh, a former Harvard classmate and respected egomaniac, standing in her path, his legs planted firmly and a little too wide, like he was ready to dive at her. "All this, for me?" asked Alice, smiling playfully. "What, we eat like this every day. It's for one of our developmental psychologists, he was tenured yesterday. So how's Harvard treating you?" "Good." "I can't believe you're still there after all these years. You ever get too bored over there, you should consider coming here." "I'll let you know. How are things with you?" "Fantastic. You should come by my office after the talk, see our latest modeling data. It'll really knock your socks off." "Sorry, I can't, I have to catch a flight to LA right after this," she said, grateful to have a ready excuse. "Oh, too bad. Last time I saw you I think was last year at the Psychonomic Conference. I unfortunately missed your presentation." "Well, you'll get to hear a good portion of it today." "Recycling your talks these days, huh?" Before she could answer, Gordon Miller, head of the department and her new superhero, swooped in and saved her by asking Josh to help pass out the champagne. Like at Harvard, a champagne toast was a tradition in the psychology department at Stanford for all faculty who reached the coveted career milestone of tenure. There weren't many trumpets that heralded the advancement from point to point in the career of a professor, but tenure was a big one, loud and clear. When everyone was holding a cup, Gordon stood at the podium and tapped the microphone. "Can I have everyone's attention for a moment?" Josh's excessively loud, punctated laugh reverberated alone throughout the auditorium just before Gordon continued. "Today, we congratulate Mark on receiving tenure. I'm sure he's thrilled to have this particular accomplishment behind him. Here's to the many exciting accomplishments still ahead. To Mark!" "To Mark!" Alice tapped her cup with her neighbors, and everyone quickly resumed the business of drinking, eating, and discussing. When all of the food had been claimed from the serving trays and the last drops of champagne emptied from the last bottle, Gordon took the floor once again. "If everyone would take a seat, we can begin today's talk." He waited a few moments for the crowd of about seventy-five to settle and quiet down. "Today, I have the honor of introducing you to our first colloquium speaker of the year. Dr. Alice Howland is the eminent William James Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. Over the last twenty-five years, her distinguished career has produced many of the flagship touchstones in psycholinguistics. She pioneered and continues to lead an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to the study of the mechanisms of language. We are privileged to have her here today to talk to us about the Conceptual and Neural Organization of Language." Alice switched places with Gordon and looked out at her audience looking at her. As she waited for the applause to subside, she thought of the statistic that said that people feared public speaking more than they feared death. She loved it. She enjoyed all of the concatenated moments of presenting in front of a listening audience---teaching, performing, telling a story, teeing up a heated debate. She also loved the adrenaline rush. The bigger the stakes, the more sophisticated or hostile the audience, the more the whole experience thrilled her. John was an excellent speaker, but it often pained and terrified him, and he marveled at Alice's verve for it. He probably didn't prefer death, but spiders and snakes, sure. "Thank you, Gordon. Today, I'm going to talk about some of the mental processes that underlie the acquisition, organization, and use of language." Alice had given the guts of this particular talk innumerable times, but she wouldn't call it recycling. The crux of the talk did focus on the main tenets of linguistics, many of which she'd discovered, and she'd been using a number of the same slides for years. But she felt proud, and not ashamed or lazy, that this part of her talk, these discoveries of hers, continued to hold true, withstanding the test of time. Her contributions mattered and propelled future discovery. Plus, she certainly included those future discoveries. She talked without needing to look down at her notes, relaxed and animated, the words effortless. Then, about forty minutes into the fifty-minute presentation, she became suddenly stuck. "The data reveal that irregular verbs require access to the mental..." She simply couldn't find the word. She had a loose sense for what she wanted to say, but the word itself eluded her. Gone. She didn't know the first letter or what the word sounded like or how many syllables it had. It wasn't on the tip of her tongue. Maybe it was the champagne. She normally didn't drink any alcohol before speaking. Even if she knew the talk cold, even in the most casual setting, she always wanted to be as mentally sharp as possible, especially for the question and answer session at the end, which could be confrontational and full of rich, unscripted debate. But she didn't wanted to offend anyone, and she drank a little more than she probably should have when she became trapped again in passive aggressive conversation with Josh. Maybe it was jet lag. As her mind scoured its corners for the word and a rational reason as to why she lost it, her heart pounded and her face grew hot. She'd never lost a word in front of an audience before. But she'd also never panicked in front of an audience either, and she'd stood before many far larger and more intimidating than this. She told herself to breath, forget about it, and move on. She replaced the still blocked word with a vague and inappropriate 'thing,' abandoned whatever point she'd been in the middle of making, and continued on to the next slide. The pause had seemed like an obvious and awkward eternity to her, but as she checked the faces in the audience to see if anyone had noticed her mental hiccup, no one appeared alarmed, embarrassed, or ruffled in any way. Then, she saw Josh whispering to the woman next to him, his eyebrows furrowed and a slight smile on his face. She was on the plane, descending into LAX, when it finally came to her. Lexicon. Lydia had been living in Los Angeles for three years now. If she'd gone to college right after high school, she would've graduated this past spring. Alice would've been so proud. Lydia was probably smarter than both of her older siblings, and they had gone to college. And law school. And medical school. Instead of college, Lydia first went to Europe. Alice had hoped she'd come home with a clearer sense of what she wanted to study and what kind of school she wanted to go to. Instead, upon her return, she told her parents that she'd done a little acting while in Dublin and had fallen in love. She was moving to Los Angeles immediately. Alice nearly lost her mind. Much to her own maddening frustration, she recognized her own contribution to this problem. Because Lydia was the youngest of three, the daughter of parents who worked a lot and traveled regularly, and had always been a good student, Alice and John ignored her to a large extent. They granted her a lot of room to run in her world, free to think for herself and from the kind of micromanagement placed on a lot of children her age. Her parents' professional lives served as shining examples of what could be gained from setting lofty and individually unique goals and pursuing them with passion and hard work. Lydia understood her mother's advice about the importance of getting a college education, but she had the confidence and audacity to reject it. Plus, she didn't stand entirely alone. The most explosive fight Alice ever had with John followed his two cents on the subject-- I think it's wonderful, she can always go to college later, if she decides she even wants to. Alice checked her Blackberry for the address, rang the doorbell to apartment number seven, and waited. She was just about to press it again when Lydia opened the door. "Mom, you're early," said Lydia. Alice checked her watch. "I'm right on time." "You said your flight was coming in at eight." "I said five." "I have eight o'clock written down in my book." "Lydia, it's 5:45, I'm here." Lydia looked indecisive and panicky, like a squirrel caught facing an oncoming car in the road. "Sorry, come in." They each hesitated before they hugged, as if they were about to practice a newly learned dance and weren't quite confident of the first step or who should lead. Or it was an old dance, but they hadn't performed it together in so long that they each felt unsure of the choreography. Alice could feel the contours of Lydia's spine and ribs through her shirt. She looked too skinny, a good ten pounds lighter than Alice remembered. She hoped it was more a result of being busy than of conscious dieting. Blonde and five feet six, three inches taller than Alice, Lydia stood out among the predominance of short Italian and Asian women in Cambridge, but in Los Angeles, the waiting rooms at every audition were apparently full of women who looked just like her. "I made reservations for nine. Wait here, I'll be right back." Craning her neck, Alice inspected the kitchen and living room from the hallway. The furnishings, most likely yard sale finds and parent hand-me-downs, looked rather hip together---an orange sectional couch, retro-inspired coffee table, Brady Bunch style kitchen table and chairs. The white walls were bare except for a poster of Marlon Brando taped above the couch. The air smelled strongly of Windex, as if Lydia had probably taken last second measures to clean the place before Alice's arrival. In fact, it was a little too clean. No DVD's or CD's laying around, no books or magazines thrown on the coffee table, no pictures on the refrigerator, no hint of Lydia's interests or aesthetic anywhere. Anyone could be living here. Then, she noticed the pile of men's shoes on the floor to the left of the door behind her. "Tell me about your roommates," said Alice, as Lydia returned from her room, cell phone in hand. "They're at work." "What kind of work?" "One's bartending and the other delivers food." "I thought they were both actors." "They are." "I see. What are their names again?" "Doug and Malcolm." It flashed only for a moment, but Alice saw it and Lydia saw her see it. Lydia's face flushed when she said Malcolm's name, and her eyes darted nervously away from her mother's. "Why don't we get going? They said they can take us early," said Lydia. "Okay, I just need to use the bathroom first." As Alice washed her hands, she looked over the products sitting on the table next to the sink--Neutrogena facial cleanser and moisturizer, Tom's of Maine mint toothpaste, men's deodorant, a box of Playtex tampons. She thought for a moment. She hadn't had her period all summer. Did she have it in May? She'd be turning fifty next month, so she wasn't alarmed. She hadn't yet experienced any hot flashes or night sweats, but not all menopausal women did. That would be just fine with her. As she dried her hands, she noticed the box of Trojan condoms behind Lydia's hair styling products. She was going to have to find out more about these roommates. Malcolm, in particular. They sat at a table outside on the patio at Ivy, a trendy restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, and ordered two drinks, an espresso martini for Lydia and a merlot for Alice. "So how's Dad's Science paper coming?" asked Lydia. She must've talked recently with her father. Alice hadn't heard from her since a phone call on Mother's Day. "It's done. He's very proud of it." "How's Anna and Tom?" "Good, busy, working hard. So how did you meet Doug and Malcolm?" "They came into Starbucks one night while I was working." The waiter appeared, and they each ordered dinner and another drink. Alice hoped the alcohol would dilute the tension between them, which felt heavy and thick and just beneath the tracing-paper-thin conversation. "So how did you meet Doug and Malcolm?" asked Alice. "I just told you. Why don't you ever listen to anything I say? They came into Starbucks one night talking about looking for a roommate while I was working." "I thought you were waitressing at a restaurant." "I am. I work at Starbucks during the week and waitress on Saturday nights." "Doesn't sound like that leaves a lot of time for acting." "I'm not cast in anything right now, but I'm taking workshop classes, and I'm auditioning a lot." "What kind of classes?" "Meisner technique." "And what've you been auditioning for?" "Television and print." Alice swirled her wine, drank the last, big gulp, and licked her lips. "Lydia, what exactly is your plan here?" "I'm not planning on stopping, if that's what you're asking." The drinks were taking effect, but not in the direction Alice had hoped for. Instead, they served as the fuel that burned that little piece of tracing paper, leaving the tension between them fully exposed and at the helm of a dangerously familiar conversation. "You can't live like this forever. Are you still going to work at Starbucks when you're thirty?" "That's eight years away! Do you know what you'll be doing in eight years?" "Yes, I do. At some point, you need to be responsible, you need to able to afford things like health insurance, a mortgage, savings for retirement--" "I have health insurance. And I might make it as an actor. There are people who do, you know. And they make a hell of a lot more money than you and Dad combined." "This isn't just about money." "Then what? That I didn't become you?" "Lower your voice." "Don't tell me what to do." "I don't want you to become me, Lydia. I just don't want you to limit your choices." "You want to make my choices." "No." "This is who I am, this is what I want to do." "What, serving up venti lattes? You should be in college. You should be spending this time in your life learning something." "I am learning something! I'm just not sitting in a Harvard classroom killing myself trying to get an A in political science. I'm in a serious acting class for fifteen hours a week. How many hours of class a week do your students take, twelve?" "It's not the same thing." "Well, Dad thinks it is. He's paying for it." Alice clenched the sides of her skirt and pressed her lips together. What she wanted to say next wasn't meant for Lydia. "You've never even seen me act." John had. He flew out alone last winter to see her perform in a play. Swamped with too many urgent things at the time, Alice couldn't free up to go. As she looked at Lydia's pained eyes, she couldn't remember now what those urgent things had been. She didn't have anything against an acting career itself, but she believed Lydia's singular pursuit of it, without an education, bordered reckless. If she didn't go to college now, acquire a knowledge base or formal training in some field, if she didn't get a degree, what would she do if acting didn't pan out? She thought about those condoms in the bathroom. What if Lydia got pregnant? Alice worried that Lydia might find herself someday trapped in a life that was unfulfilled, full of regret. She looked at her daughter and saw so much wasted potential, so much wasted time. "You're not getting any younger, Lydia. Life goes by too fast." "I agree." The food came, but neither of them picked up a fork. Lydia dabbed her eyes with her hand-embroidered linen napkin. They always fell into the same battle, and it felt to Alice like trying to knock down a concrete wall with their heads. It was never going to be productive and only resulted in hurting them, causing lasting damage. She wished Lydia could see the love and wisdom in what she wanted for her. She wished she could just reach across the table and hug her, but there were too many dishes, glasses, and years of distance between them. A sudden flurry of activity a few tables away pulled their attention away from themselves. Several camera flashes popped and a small crowd of patrons and wait staff gathered, all focused on a woman who looked a bit like Lydia. "Who's that?" asked Alice. "Mom," said Lydia in a tone both embarrassed and superior, perfected at the age of thirteen. "That's Jennifer Aniston." They ate their dinner and talked only of safe things, like the food and the weather. Alice wanted to discover more about Lydia's relationship with Malcolm, but the embers of Lydia's emotions still glowed hot, and Alice feared igniting another fight. She paid the bill, and they left the restaurant, full but dissatisfied. "Excuse me, ma'am!" Their waiter caught up to them on the sidewalk. "You left this." Alice paused, trying to comprehend how their waiter might come to possess her Blackberry. She hadn't checked her email or calendar there. She felt inside her bag. No Blackberry. She must've removed it when she fished her wallet out to pay. "Thank you." Lydia looked at her quizzically, as if she wanted to say something about something other than food or weather, but then didn't. They walked back to her apartment in silence. "John?" Alice waited, suspended in the front hallway, holding the handle of her suitcase. Harvard Magazine lay on the top of a pile of unclaimed mail strewn on the floor in front of her. The clock in the living room ticked and the refrigerator hummed. A warm, sunny late afternoon at her back, the air inside felt chilly, dim, and stale. Uninhabited. She picked up the mail and walked into the kitchen, her suitcase on wheels accompanying her like a loyal pet. Her flight had been delayed, and she was late getting in, even according to the microwave. He'd had a whole day, a whole Saturday, to work. The red voicemail light on their answering machine stared her down, unblinking. She checked the refrigerator. No note on the door. Nothing. Still clutching the handle of her suitcase, she stood in the dark kitchen and watched several minutes advance on the microwave. The disappointed but forgiving voice in her head faded to a whisper as the volume of a more primal one began to build and spread out. She thought about calling him, but the expanding voice rejected the suggestion outright and refused all excuses. She thought about deciding not to care, but the voice, now seeping down into her body, echoing in her belly, vibrating in each of her fingertips, was too powerful and pervasive to ignore. Why did it bother her so much? He was in the middle of an experiment and couldn't leave it to come home. She'd certainly been in his shoes innumerable times. This was what they did. This was who they were. The voice called her a stupid fool. She spotted her running shoes on the floor next to the back door. A run would make her feel better. That was what she needed. Ideally, she ran every day. For many years now, she treated running like eating or sleeping, as a vital daily necessity, and she'd been known to squeeze in a jog at midnight or in the middle of a blinding snowstorm. But she'd neglected this basic need over the last several months. She'd been so busy. As she laced her shoes, she told herself she hadn't bothered bringing them with her to California because she'd known she wouldn't have the time. In truth, she'd simply forgotten to pack them. When starting from her house on Poplar Street, she invariably followed the same route--down Massachusetts Avenue, through Harvard Square to Memorial Drive, along the Charles River to the Harvard Bridge over by MIT, and back--a little over five miles, a forty-five minute round trip. She had long been attracted to the idea of running in the Boston Marathon but each year decided that she realistically didn't have the time to train for that kind of distance. Maybe some day she would. In excellent physical condition for a woman her age, she imagined running strong well into her sixties. Clustered pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks and intermittent negotiations with car traffic in street intersections littered the first part of her run down Massachusetts Avenue and through Harvard Square. It was crowded and ripe with anticipation at that time of day on a Saturday, with crowds forming and milling around on street corners waiting for walk signals, outside restaurants waiting for tables, in movie theater lines waiting for tickets, and in double-parked cars, waiting for an unlikely opening in a metered space. The first ten minutes of her run required a good deal of conscious external concentration to navigate through it all, but once she crossed Memorial Drive to the Charles River, she was free to run in full stride and completely in the zone. A comfortable and cloudless evening invited a lot of activity along the Charles, yet it felt less congested than the streets of Cambridge. Despite a steady stream of joggers, dogs and their owners, walkers, rollerbladers, cyclists, and women pushing babies in jogger strollers, like an experienced driver on a regularly traveled stretch of road, Alice only retained a vague sense for what went on around her now. As she ran along the river, she became mindful of nothing but the sounds of her Nikes hitting the pavement in syncopated rhythm with the pace of her breath. She didn't replay her argument with Lydia. She didn't acknowledge her growling stomach. She didn't think about John. She just ran. As was her routine, she stopped running once she made it back to the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Park, a pocket of manicured lawns abutting Memorial Drive. Her head cleared, her body relaxed and rejuvenated, she began walking home. The JFK Park funneled into Harvard Square through a pleasant, bench-lined corridor between the Charles Hotel and the Kennedy School of Government. Through the corridor, she stood at the intersection of Eliot Street and Brattle, ready to cross, when a woman grabbed her forearm with startling force and said, "Have you thought about heaven today?" The woman fixed Alice with a penetrating, unwavering stare. She had long hair the color and texture of a teased Brillo pad and wore a hand-made placard hung over her chest that read AMERICA REPENT, TURN TO JESUS FROM SIN. There was always someone selling God in Harvard Square, but Alice had never been singled out so directly and intimately before. "Sorry," said Alice, and, noticing a break in the flow of traffic, she escaped to the other side of the street. She wanted to continue walking but stood frozen instead. She didn't know where she was. She looked back across the street. The Brillo-haired woman pursued another sinner down the corridor. The corridor, the hotel, the stores, the illogically meandering streets. She knew she was in Harvard Square, but she didn't know which way was home. She tried again, more specifically. The Harvard Hotel, Eastern Mountain Sports, Dickson Brothers Hardware, Mount Auburn Street. She knew all of these places--this square had been her stomping ground for over twenty-five years--but they somehow didn't fit into a mental map that told her where she lived relative to them. A black and white circular "T" sign directly in front of her marked an entrance to the Red Line trains and buses underground, but there were four such entrances in Harvard Square, and she couldn't piece together which one of the four this one was. Her heart began to race. She started sweating. She told herself that an accelerated heart rate and perspiration were part of an orchestrated and appropriate response to running. But standing still on the sidewalk, it felt like panic. She willed herself to walk another block and then another, her rubbery legs feeling like they might give way with each bewildered step. The Coop, Cardullo's, the magazines on the corner, the Cambridge Visitor Center across the street, and Harvard Yard beyond that. She told herself she could still read and recognize. None of it helped. It all lacked a context. People, cars, buses, and all kinds of unbearable noise rushed and wove around and past her. She closed her eyes. She listened to her own blood whoosh and pulse behind her ears. "Please stop this," she whispered. She opened her eyes. Just as suddenly as it had left her, the landscape snapped snugly back into place. The Coop, Cardullo's, Nini's Corner, Harvard Yard. She automatically understood that she should turn left at the corner and head west on Mass Ave. She began to breathe easier, no longer bizarrely lost within a mile of home. But she'd just been bizarrely lost within a mile of home. She walked as fast as she could without running. She turned onto her street, a quiet, tree-lined, residential road a couple of blocks removed from Mass Ave. With both feet on her road and her house in sight, she felt much safer, but not yet safe. She kept her eyes on her front door and her legs moving and promised herself that the sea of anxiety swelling furiously inside her would drain when she walked in the front hallway and saw John. If he was home. "John?" He appeared in the threshold of the kitchen, unshaven, his glasses sitting on top of his mad scientist hair, sucking on a red popsicle and sporting his lucky gray T-shirt. He'd been up all night. As she'd promised herself, her anxiety began to drain. But her energy and bravery seemed to leak out with it, leaving her fragile and wanting to collapse into his arms. "Hey, I was wondering where you were, just about to leave you a note on the fridge. How'd it go?" he asked. "What?" "Stanford." "Oh, good." "And how's Lydia?" The betrayal and hurt over Lydia, over him not being home when she got there, exorcised by the run and displaced by her terror over being inexplicably lost, reclaimed its priority in the pecking order. "You tell me," she said. "You guys fought." "You're paying for her acting classes?" she accused. "Oh," he said, sucking the last of the popsicle into his red stained mouth. "Look, can we talk about this later? I don't have time to get into it right now." "Make the time, John. You're keeping her afloat out there without telling me, and you're not here when I get home, and---" "And you weren't here when I got home. How was your run?" She heard the simple reasoning in his veiled question. If she had waited for him, if she had called, if she hadn't done exactly what she'd wanted and gone for a run, she could've spent the last hour with him. She had to agree. "Fine." "I'm sorry, I waited as long as I could, but I've really got to get back to the lab. I had an incredible day so far, gorgeous results, but we're not done, and I've got to analyze the numbers before we get started again in the morning. I only came home to see you." "I need to talk about this with you now." "This really isn't new information, Ali. We disagree about Lydia. Can't it wait until I get back?" "No." "You want to walk over with me, talk about it on the way?" "I'm not going to the office, I need to be home." "You need to talk now, you need to be home, you're awfully needy all of the sudden. Is something else going on?" The word 'needy' smacked a vulnerable nerve. Needy equaled weak, dependent, pathological. Her father. She'd made a life-long point of never being like that, like him. "I'm just exhausted." "You look it, you need to slow down." "That's not what I need." He waited for her to elaborate, but she took too long. "Look, the sooner I go, the sooner I'll be back. Get some rest, I'll be home later tonight." He kissed her sweat-drenched head and walked out the door. Standing in the hallway where he left her, with no one to confess to or confide in, the full emotional impact of what she'd just experienced in Harvard Square flooded over her. She sat down on the floor and leaned against the cool wall, watching her hands shake in her lap as if they couldn't be hers. She tried to focus on steadying her breath as she did when she ran. After minutes of breathing in and breathing out, she was finally calm enough to try to assemble some sense out of what had just happened. She thought about the missing word during her talk at Stanford and her missing period. She got up, turned on her laptop, and Googled MENOPAUSE SYMPTOMS. An appalling list filled the screen--hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, crashing fatigue, anxiety, dizziness, irregular heart beat, depression, irritability, mood swings, disorientation, mental confusion, memory lapses. Disorientation, mental confusion, memory lapses. Check, check, and check. She leaned back in her chair and raked her fingers back and forth through her curly, black hair. She looked over at the pictures displayed on the shelves of the floor-to-ceiling bookcase--her Harvard graduation day, she and John dancing on their wedding day, family portraits from when the kids were little, a family portrait from Anna's wedding. She returned to the list on her computer screen. This was just the natural, next phase in her life as a woman. Millions of women coped with it every day. Nothing life-threatening. Nothing abnormal. She wrote herself a note to make an appointment with her doctor for a checkup. Maybe she should go on estrogen replacement therapy. She read through the list of symptoms one last time. Irritability. Mood swings. Her recent shrinking fuse with John. It all added up. Satisfied, she shut down her computer. She sat in the darkening study a while longer, listening to her quiet house and the sounds of neighborhood barbeques. She inhaled the smell of hamburger grilling. For some reason, she wasn't hungry anymore. She took a multivitamin with water, unpacked, read several articles from The Journal of Cognition, and went to bed. Some time after midnight, John finally came home. His weight in their bed woke her, but only slightly. She remained still and pretended to stay asleep. He had to be exhausted from being up all night and working all day. They could talk about Lydia in the morning. And she'd apologize for being so sensitive and moody lately. His warm hand on her hip brought her into the curve of his body. With his breath on her neck, she fell into a deep sleep, convinced that she was safe. Copyright © 2007, 2009 by Lisa Genova

Bookclub Guide

Discussion Questions: 1. When Alice becomes disoriented in Harvard Square, a place she's visited daily for twenty-five years, why doesn't she tell John? Is she too afraid to face a possible illness, worried about his possible reaction, or some other reason? 2. After first learning she has Alzheimer's disease, "the sound of her name penetrated her every cell and seemed to scatter her molecules beyond the boundaries of her own skin. She watched herself from the far corner of the room" (pg. 70). What do you think of Alice's reaction to the diagnosis? Why does she disassociate herself to the extent that she feels she's having an out-of-body experience? 3. Do you find irony in the fact that Alice, a Harvard professor and researcher, suffers from a disease that causes her brain to atrophy? Why do you think the author, Lisa Genova, chose this profession? How does her past academic success affect Alice's ability, and her family's, to cope with Alzheimer's? 4. "He refused to watch her take her medication. He could be mid-sentence, mid-conversation, but if she got out her plastic, days-of-the-week pill container, he left the room" (pg. 89). Is John's reaction understandable? What might be the significance of him frequently fiddling with his wedding ring when Alice's health is discussed? 5. When Alice's three children, Anna, Tom and Lydia, find out they can be tested for the genetic mutation that causes Alzheimer's, only Lydia decides she doesn't want to know. Why does she decline? Would you want to know if you had the gene? 6. Why is her mother's butterfly necklace so important to Alice? Is it only because she misses her mother? Does Alice feel a connection to butterflies beyond the necklace? 7. Alice decides she wants to spend her remaining time with her family and her books. Considering her devotion and passion for her work, why doesn't her research make the list of priorities? Does Alice most identify herself as a mother, wife, or scholar? 8. Were you surprised at Alice's plan to overdose on sleeping pills once her disease progressed to an advanced stage? Is this decision in character? Why does she make this difficult choice? If they found out, would her family approve? 9. As the symptoms worsen, Alice begins to feel like she's living in one of Lydia's plays: "(Interior of Doctor's Office. The neurologist left the room. The husband spun his ring. The woman hoped for a cure.)" (pg. 141). Is this thought process a sign of the disease, or does pretending it's not happening to her make it easier for Alice to deal with reality? 10. Do Alice's relationships with her children differ? Why does she read Lydia's diary? And does Lydia decide to attend college only to honor her mother? 11. Alice's mother and sister died when she was only a freshman in college, and yet Alice has to keep reminding herself they're not about to walk through the door. As the symptoms worsen, why does Alice think more about her mother and sister? Is it because her older memories are more accessible, is she thinking of happier times, or is she worried about her own mortality? 12. Alice and the members of her support group, Mary, Cathy, and Dan, all discuss how their reputations suffered prior to their diagnoses because people thought they were being difficult or possibly had substance abuse problems. Is preserving their legacies one of the biggest obstacles to people suffering from Alzheimer's disease? What examples are there of people still respecting Alice's wishes, and at what times is she ignored? 13. "One last sabbatical year together. She wouldn't trade that in for anything. Apparently, he would" (pg. 223). Why does John decide to keep working? Is it fair for him to seek the job in New York considering Alice probably won't know her whereabouts by the time they move? Is he correct when he tells the children she would not want him to sacrifice his work? 14. Why does Lisa Genova choose to end the novel with John reading that Amylix, the medicine that Alice was taking, failed to stabilize Alzheimer's patients? Why does this news cause John to cry? 15. Alice's doctor tells her, "You may not be the most reliable source of what's been going on" (pg. 54). Yet, Lisa Genova chose to tell the story from Alice's point of view. As Alice's disease worsens, her perceptions indeed get less reliable. Why would the author choose to stay in Alice's perspective? What do we gain, and what do we lose? Enhance Your Book Club: 1. If you'd like to learn more about Alzheimer's or help those suffering from the disease, please visit www.actionalz.org or www.alz.org. 2. The Harvard University setting plays an important role in Still Alice. If you live in the Cambridge area, hold your meeting in one of the Harvard Square cafŽs. If not, you can take a virtual tour of the university at: http://www.hno.harvard.edu/tour/guide.html 3. In order to help her mother, Lydia makes a documentary of the Howlands' lives. Make one of your own family and then share the videos with the group. 4. To learn more about Still Alice or to get in touch with Lisa Genova, visit www.StillAlice.com.

Editorial Reviews

“Because the full, internal experience of Alzheimer’s is an account that fiction alone can deliver, it’s no surprise that the go-to book for caretakers and early-stage sufferers is a novel. “Still Alice,” written by the neuroscientist Lisa Genova, offers a crisp, straightforward, and wrenching depiction of the fifty-year-old Harvard professor Alice Howland’s descent into the swift, early-onset form of the disease.”