Still Alice

Paperback | January 6, 2009

byLisa Genova

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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.

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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. Alice is p...

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From the Publisher

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, ha...

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.

other books by Lisa Genova

Inside the O'Briens: A Novel
Inside the O'Briens: A Novel

Hardcover|Apr 7 2015

$10.00 online$29.99list price
Love Anthony
Love Anthony

Paperback|Apr 2 2013

$15.45 online$21.00list price(save 26%)
Left Neglected
Left Neglected

Paperback|Jul 26 2011

$15.59 online$21.00list price(save 25%)
see all books by Lisa Genova
Format: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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Customer Reviews of Still Alice


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 Masterpiece! Lisa Genova is simply amazing! This is the beautiful and terrifying story of a woman diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at an early age, in the prime years of her life. It is a moving and vivid depiction of how life an change so fast. An absolutely unforgettable novel that will have you hooked from the first page to the very last page. Genova brings along for the journey as Alice tries to fight what is happening to her, while unfortunately being unable to deny what is going to and does happen to her.
Date published: 2016-11-16
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
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Still Alice My father has Alzheimer's and he is often living in his past. He has a teddy bear that he likes to play with and I am unsure if he knows who I am. Being of a medical background none of his progression in his disease has surprised me, but it has saddened me. Reading "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova did bring tears to my eyes and yes I could relate to Alice's family and how they dealt with her Alzheimer's. I was also able to better understand my father and what he has gone through. What a devastating disease for both the bearer of the disease and for the family. To lose one's memory of language skills is unfathomable and to lose the ability to love someone is heartbreaking and to lose the ability to recognize your family is devastating. I found the book a bit too simple for my tastes, but I am the type of person who likes to know everything and with a science background and a medical background I found the books description of the drugs used to treat Alzheimer's and the description of the disease itself just too simplistic. I also found there was not enough history about the family; I would have liked to have known more about everyone including Alice. Some parts of the book seemed cheesy, like the description of Alice's daughter Anna and her reaction to her sister Lydia not going to university and how it pleased her that Lydia was on the outs with Alice; it seemed like a middle school fiction book of sister rivalry. The book could use more depth and character and a bit more growth.
Date published: 2011-04-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing I loved this book! Very good eye into alzheimers and understanding the effects it has on not only the family but even the individual with the disease. Heartbreaking, but a very good raw book.
Date published: 2011-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best books ever read! This book was amazing. It's a book that you can't put down until you have finish. A really great read. Recommed it to anyone
Date published: 2011-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic I absolutely loved this novel. I read it many months ago, but for me, the true test of a novel is when you can look back and think "that one stood out". I could not put this book down. The story is so sad, yet the journey is so interesting. You can really feel the triumphs and the failures that the characters experience. I can't really say much mroe about. It's a masterpiece, and I would suggest it to anyone. The only thing that was difficult for me was all the doctor-terminology. But that's just because it was beyond my reading level, possibly. But some parts I felt were hard to read because of all the words that I didn't know... Doctor terminology, like I said. The characters are great and the story progresses at a believable rate. An excellent choice for any reader.
Date published: 2011-02-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply beautiful. After having been too busy to crack open a good book in a long while, I was fortunate enough to have fallen upon "Still Alice". Page after page, it's evident that Genova knows what she's writing about in how she can draw you into the story so that you not only ache for Alice, but with her. This truly was the gem that I needed to remind me of what I loved so much about reading. "Still Alice" is a heartwrenching story about trying desperately to remain true to oneself as it becomes increasingly difficult to remember who that is, exactly.
Date published: 2011-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Incredible and Heart Wrenching Read One of my new favourites. Beautifully written from the perspective of Alice, a woman diagnosed with early onset alzheimers disease, and her plight with the illness. Characters were very real, as well as situations/ storyline that arose. At points exhausting to read, but in a good way. Made it very real. Lisa Genova truly did an amazing job with this, her first, novel.
Date published: 2011-01-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really good. 4.25 stars Alice is a 50-year old Harvard professor of psychology who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. She and her family have to learn to live with this degenerative disease, knowing that Alice will only get worse. This was really good. Told from Alice's viewpoint, as she slowly starts forgetting things, you really feel scared, from her point of view. It shows how it affects, not only her life at home, but in her work at Harvard. It's frustrating to see how it affects her family, and there's nothing that can be done about it. I am thankful that I haven't known anyone close to me (knock on wood) with Alzheimer's. It's got to be such an incredibly scary feeling. I can't even imagine.
Date published: 2010-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING! Wonderful story. I felt like I was living with the characters. It was a beautiful yet tragic story. I could not put it down! All I can say is go buy this book, you will not be disappointed. Incredible!
Date published: 2010-12-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Touching This was our third book club pick. I had heard about this book before we started to read it, and had been looking forward to reading it, however I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I anticipated too. It was still definitely a good book to read, and the others in the book club really enjoyed this book. What made the impact for me is my uncle is battling Alzheimers.
Date published: 2010-12-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This story was very well written. I teared up in some parts. If you have a heart, you will tear up as well. You are proud in some parts and just sadened in others. It was a sad and sweet book. I didn't like it too much - not because it was a bad book or anything - it's just that it was too real for me. This i the hard truth about Alzeimers. Scary stuff.
Date published: 2010-12-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing, touching, and terrifying I absolutely loved this novel. It gave such an amazing insight into world of someone suffering from Alzheimers. Truly a touching story for anyone. I could not put it down.
Date published: 2010-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very unique I really loved this story. It's a quick read and a very worthwhile one. It was amazing to see inside the mind of an alzheimer patient along with all it's madness and sadness. Highly recommend it.
Date published: 2010-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing fast read. Such a incredible book on early onset Alzheimer. I was nervous about reading this book but I am so glad I did. This book is full of information about the disease. The characters are so alive and real. I did wonder for a while if I did have this disease as you start to really relate to the character.
Date published: 2010-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this novel! could not put this book down!!!
Date published: 2010-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Frickin' fantastic! Too complicated to write to Lisa herself so i am writting it here....FANTASTIC BOOK! I suggest this to any geriatric nurse (like myself) and anyone with a friend or family member going through the same thing. Eye opening! I AM SO HAPPY SHE HAS ANOTHER ONE COMING IN JANUARY! I can't wait!
Date published: 2010-08-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from so-so I picked up this book because it was a Heather's Pick (and I generally enjoy her picks) and it also received a lot of good review. Boy, was I disappointed. It was a good book, but I didn't find it as outstanding as some. It was definitely an easy read as I read it in about a day.
Date published: 2010-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A book of Dignity I could not put this book down. If you are lucky enough not to be dealing with this crippling disease or to know someone who is coping with it. You can still feel empathy towards the main character and her family. I laughed, I cried I was mad at the impatience of some. But loved them all. Lisa Genova has written a beautiful story about one woman' struggle and how her family pulled towards and away from her. You can't not feel for each character in this book.
Date published: 2010-07-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Moving great book...must be so painful to go through
Date published: 2010-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING book This book was great. Really helps you understand more of what millions of people go trough.
Date published: 2010-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A truly touching story. This book made me feel as if I were actually seeing what Alice saw, minus the complicated Harvard terms, this book was very easy to follow. It was detailed and written very well. It was also a moving story and it made you feel as if you were touched by Alice. You were there. It's as simple as that.
Date published: 2010-07-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional I just couldn't take it anymore! Mom was leaving me so quickly. So full anger was she that I, overcome with exhaustion and frustration, knew this would be have to be our last visit. I was filled with remorse, "how could I abandon her when she needed me the most"? Sure, I had read a lot about her affliction and I knew her widely fluctuating moods were the disease but I couldn't quite 'get it'. Then a very good friend loaned me her copy of 'Still Alice'. Wow, everything started making sense, I started to 'get' what was happening to Mom and that she need my love more than she needed me to help her stay connected to her memories. From the moment I picked up the book my understanding of what Mom was going through helped us establish a more rewarding loving relationship, until the time of her death which was just a few weeks ago. Although Dr. Genova never met Mom she helped me understand that Mom was "Still Mom" and for that I am ever grateful. Thank you Dr. Genova, thank you!
Date published: 2010-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING! I am not what I would consider an "avid reader" - but I was loaned this book and, after letting it sitting on my kitchen island for months, I was looking for something to pack for the flight of an upcoming trip! Once I picked this book up I COULD NOT put it down! I was actually taking the trip with 20 other people - as our destination wedding! And I must say I was almost guilty of ignoring all of my guests for the final day of the trip just so I could sit and read this book! Again, I don't read constantly, but this book took me two days and by the end I felt entirely satisfied and felt the book ended in a not totally expected way. Several years ago I lost my grandma, and all of her memories, to dementia, and I sit on the Board of Directors for a local Alzheimer Society chapter to honour her; this book tells an honest story of this disease that is terrifying and horrific - thank you for a perfectly honest, human portrayal of this disease.
Date published: 2010-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Still Alice is the story of a 50-year old woman's sudden unexpected decent into early onset Alzheimer's. Few novels have the power to bring me to tears but the ending of this had them streaming down my face. This book is beautiful in its ability to capture the emotions of its characters, and terrifying in its portrayal of what Alzheimer's can do to a brilliant mind. You cannot help but relate to Alice and love her as a character. Lisa Genova has done an incredible job. Her writing is both compelling and informative. I devoured this book in less than 5 days and would recommend it to anyone, especially to anyone dealing with a family member or friend who may be suffering with this horrible disease.
Date published: 2010-04-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Well Written Still Alice is about a Harvard proffessor who gets diagnosed with Early On-set Alzheimer's Disease in her early forties. It deals with her work and family life, as she goes through her trials and tribulations. As the months go on she struggles to keep hold of herself and the people and things that matter most to her. The thing I like about Still Alice the most was the way it was written. You actually thought alongside Alice in a realistic way. While in the middle of a conversation, the text wouldn't say anything like "Alice forgot she already asked this question", but instead she just kept talking, nothing to show that she may have already asked that question. I actually did at one point turn the page back to make sure I hadn't accidentally reread a page. Kudos Lisa Genova. This book took me a lot longer to read then it should have because I had to keep putting it down, or I would look at it because I would want to read it but just couldn't bring myself to do so. That's personnally just me, though, as real life and real life issues tend to freak me out a little. I had to stop reading it with only 20 pages left at work because it was seriously depressing me and I didn't want to know how it ended with a half day of work still ahead of me.
Date published: 2010-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazingly well written and not as traumatizing as I expected! Was nervous to read this book because I thought that I might feel too much of the pain. It made me sad yet helped me to better understand Alzheimer's and all parties affected by it.
Date published: 2010-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredibly moving This book was absolutely amazing. As we follow the main character through her experiences with early on-set Alzheimers, you feel like you are actually there with her. This book examines what impact the disease has on the family, but most importantly you are privy to her inner thoughts as well, which allows you to experience some of the effects that come with Alzheimers first-hand. I found this story both moving and inspirational. I never want to waste a minute of my life not doing what I'm happy doing, because life is too short.
Date published: 2010-03-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book! What a great story. The book takes you through alzheimers through the eyes of the affected person. This book makes you think, it makes you aware of the disease and helps you to understand what individuals with alzheimers go through. The author does an excellent job... I couldn't stop readin once I started!
Date published: 2010-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still Alice, Fantastic! I am still carrying this book around in my handbag three days after I have finished it and occassionally pick it up and flip to a favorite part. This book gave me a profound understanding/education of a disease that I new little of. A must read. It will stay with you long after you have put the book down. Brilliant!
Date published: 2010-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thank you Lisa Genova Very well written. Alice became my friend and hero in this book. I almost felt like I've known her for so long. My Grandmother passed away from this unforgiving disease and this book really put me in her shoes and opened my eyes to what was going on while she was still living. I coulnt put this book down~!
Date published: 2010-02-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good I quite enjoyed this book. When I first started reading it, I felt that the progression of her disease was too fast. It felt like it was going to be an academic book disguised as a narrative novel. I was wrong, as the story progresses you really get attached to Alice and what she's going through and some of the betrayal she feels. Overall, an excellent novel. I was a bit annoyed with the ending, it's kind of sad in a way, but maybe some people will have trouble seeing it. *possible spoiler* I just wish she got to carry out what she wanted to do.
Date published: 2010-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really great This was my pick for our book club and I am so glad I did. What a wonderful story. I love the way it is written. The reader went on the same road as Alice in her memory loss. Just a wonderful story that I know I will read again and recommend many times.
Date published: 2010-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Profound My mother "suffered" with Alzheimer's and I was able to relate to the frustration levels that Alice experienced. There were times that my mother would be reduced to tears because of what she couldn't remember and what she feared. There were times of total panic because she didn't know who visiting family member were, but they were sleeping in the guest room and she felt very unsafe. There were numerous phone calls to let me know that she had gotten moved (the move had taken place 15 years previous). I think the author has very acurately described what it is like on the "other" side. I remember a comment a facilitator at a dementia workshop making. She said that we all have misplaced our car keys at one time or another, but it is when we have them in hand and can't remember what they are for that we may have a problem.
Date published: 2010-01-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Eye Opener A rollercoaster of emotions with this book. My Grandma is living with Dementia and it opened my eyes to the other side of Alzheimer's, being the person with it. It made me look back to all the signs and could relate as to what my grandma may have been thinking about and going through at that time and will help me in the future. A GREAT read!
Date published: 2010-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Emotional An unforgettable book. Heart breaking. Emotional. Beautiful. Agonizing. Incredible. One of the best books I've ever read.
Date published: 2010-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very touching It made me laugh and cry. It is a very emotional and sad story. I couldn't put the book down till I finished it. I don't have personal experience with AD, but I feel like I do now.
Date published: 2010-01-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from excellent story, believable I thought this book was a very well written story of an alzheimer's patient. It took me awhile to actually buy the book, because I didn't think a book about alzheimer's would be that good. But it was very easy to relate to the characters in the story and to put myself in their place, any of them. It was a quick read but left me with a lot of knowledge concerning this disease. It was very emotional and I could feel Alice losing what she seen as her dignity but no matter how hard she tried to set things up so that she would be aware of it, she just couldn't do it. I didn't like how the book just ended. There were a lot ofloos ends regarding Alice's family. This may have been done on purpose in a symbolic sense, but I don't like when a book leaves me wondering about what happens with the rest of the characters. I would recommend this book for anyone who likes a good emotional story and definately to anyone who is in any way dealing with this disease. It is very eye-opening.
Date published: 2010-01-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A journey This book was truely a journey. Great read that was both inspirational and emotional. I definately have a better understanding for alzheimer's and dementia and how hard it is on the person with the disease. Well written novel that keeps you thinking and remembering.
Date published: 2009-12-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I Didn't Want to Put Alice Down! It is always nice (and rare) when I come across a book that I don't want to put down. This was one of those books. I agree with another reviewer that her eloquent speech delivered at the end of the book wasn't "believable", given her advanced state of demetia. This is why I gave this book a 4 versus 5 star rating.
Date published: 2009-12-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Moving This book was a fantastic read. I've passed it along to several family members who were equally impressed. Anyone struggling with family or friends suffering from Alzheimer's or Dimentia should read this and pass it along. Coming from a family that understands the loss of someone to alzheimers, it's amazing to me how well this was written!
Date published: 2009-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written, highly recomended Heart wrenching story line but an eye opener too. A great book to read on a plane as it's easy to pick up where you left off. Straight forward and easy to read, captivating story.
Date published: 2009-12-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Something I have never read before... I am privileged to say that I have never read a book quite as this one before. The story of a brilliant woman named Alice - Harvard teacher of Linguistics - who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's at the young age of fifty. Join Alica and her family - John (husband), Anna, Tom and Lydia (children) - on their journey of a dwindling wisdom, forgotten yesterdays and of unknown tomorrows. Lisa Genova has written this novel - Still Alice - in the most fluent and dynamic words that makes this disease so remarkable to read and learn about. I highly recommend this book to ANY ONE. Each person that picks up this story will feel something that they have not felt before and believe in life in a whole new way. Let's not take our mind for granted and remember the world as we know it and the memories that shape it.
Date published: 2009-11-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Heart Wrenching I took this book with me on a business trip, as it is the next selection for my book club. I am very glad that I didn't read it until I got to the privacy of my hotel room, as this book made me cry about 20 times!!! It was so well done, but so, so sad. I was absolutely riveted, and read the entire book in one day! An excellent read and very emotional! Have kleenex handy!
Date published: 2009-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Should Be Required Reading This is a fantastic book. The story of Alice, stricken with Early Onset Alzeimer's Disease at the age of 50, should be required reading for all of us. I will never look at other person suffering from this dreadful disease the same way again. The book is told from Alice's perspective. It is real, honest and heart-wrenching. As many of us reach middle age and have aging parents, this book reminds all of us about what it means to be "me".
Date published: 2009-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unforgettable I must admit that I was nowhere near eager to pick up a book about early onset Alzheimer’s. I purchased the book after reading an inordinate number of rave reviews, thinking that at some point I might be so exceedingly happy that I might need to temper my mood with it. In the end, curiosity got the best of me (as it always does). And in this case, I am glad that it did. Still Alice is the story of Alice, a Harvard professor, who in her early fifties becomes diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. As it progresses, she must learn more and more elaborate ways to cope with the demands of her life while keeping her diagnosis a secret from her colleagues and family. Written from the perspective of Alice, the novel allows the reader a rare look at the impact of Alzheimer’s on the individual as well as those around her. Presumably due to the fact that the reader’s memory is relatively intact, we are able to relate to those around Alice while maintaining the ability to recognize the magnitude of her loss. Written by a neuroscientist, Still Alice is not surprisingly well-researched; however, it is also remarkably well-written. It offers the perfect balance of reality and hope. I was thoroughly impressed with this novel and would highly recommend it to anyone who has been touched by this devastating disease as well as those who may in the future.
Date published: 2009-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from provides incredible insight This is an easy and quick read! "Still Alice" provides a remarkable window into the plight of people faced with living with AD. Genova gives us a thoughtful, realistic, emotional, gripping, humorous, sad glimpse into the life of a woman striken with AD. This book reminds us that the individual is still alive somewhere within the body now suffering from AD. My copy is being passed along to my colleagues all of whom work with clients suffering from dementia.
Date published: 2009-10-30
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: 2009-10-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from topical but strangely clinical Lisa Genova’s novel 'Still Alice' is the story of Alice Howland, renowned Harvard professor, mother of three, happily married to John, also a Harvard prof. After seeing her doctor because she’s suffering from strange lapses in her memory, Alice is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. She is 50. The novel traces Alice’s diagnosis and subsequent decline. At first she merely struggles to find words (and I don’t do this, but sometimes I start a story and totally forget what I was going to say!) but then her lapses in memory become more pronounced: she gets lost walking a familiar route, she forgets people who were introduced to her only moments before, she mistakes a mat on the floor for a black hole. 'Still Alice' isn’t literature. Okay, yes, it tells a story, but often times I felt like the author was trying to convey information. Alice says to her neurologist: “You should also tell them about DASNI. It’s the Dementia Advocacy and Support Network International (247).” There are several other instances of this sort of writing, places where I felt Genova had an agenda and she was writing to fulfill it. Somehow it lessens the emotional impact of the story because as a reader I was more interested in Alice and her life than I was in hearing about clinical trials. I can only imagine that being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is the worst torture imaginable. The disconnect between your life and the lives of the people you love would be beyond horrific. The thought of losing the ability to read (I can’t even imagine my life without books!), to watch a movie, to do simple tasks, to recognize the faces of my children and husband fills me with dread. Yet near the end of the novel, Alice still has the wherewithal to stand up in front of the delegates of a Dementia Care Conference and give an impassioned lecture about how, despite her symptoms, she is still a person worthy of note. “Please don’t look at our scarlet A’s and write us off. Look us in the eye, talk directly to us. Don’t panic or take it personally if we make mistakes, because we will” (253). The whole lecture seemed like authorial commentary…and it didn’t work for me. Strangely, the part that I found most moving in the novel was when Alice attends the graduation of her last grad student, Dan. Even though we’ve seen very little of their relationship and hardly anything of Dan in the novel, his post-graduation moment with Alice is very touching. People will love 'Still Alice'. My feeling about it is that it’s a timely topic written without artifice.
Date published: 2009-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Emotionally Engaging Incredible tale that gets you involved in more ways than you can imagine. And if you are a person devoting your life to academic field, study, research, teaching, you can only connect more with the story being told here. Do not get deceived by the apparent simplicity in the way of author's narrative.“ it is so much more than trivial. In my opinion - absolutely necessary story for majority of us to know.
Date published: 2009-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreakingly Real... An absolute must read, the author has such an easy eloquence, I found it impossible to put the book down. Give yourself a few hours - you'll read it in one sitting. Impressive, scary, heartbreaking real. Don't miss out on this book, it will change you and the way you look at the world around you.
Date published: 2009-09-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Immersive and Spellbinding None of us know what it's like to be a victim of Alzheimer's, or what it would be like for a family to deal with the problems and pain. This is a book that will take you into the head of a very intelligent woman who has early onset, and at some point you will start to gain insight into your own brain's dealings with lost information -- beware, at some point you will feel losses just like Alice, and also know how you make up for those losses - just as Alice made up for hers.
Date published: 2009-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely amazing Since Alzheimers has touched my life, this book gave me a look into the mind of a woman that this disease has touched. I have recommended this book to a few people already and will continue to recommended it to anyone.
Date published: 2009-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The best read of the year ..... This book had me from the first word - ......... not a book to read on the subway (can be extremely heart pulling at times) ........... makes you think and contemplate - a great read!
Date published: 2009-09-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Touching Book Very emotional and thought-provoking book. Written from the prospective of Alice who was diagnosed with early-onset alzheimer's disease. It takes you from the beginning stages when she was first diagnosed through to the progressive stages of the disease and how she and her family copes with her life-altering changes. An incredible portrayal of this dreaded disease. It was as touching as it was informative.
Date published: 2009-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book was sooo real and truthful. I sat down with this book earlier this afternoon and managed to finish it only a few hours later. Great book.
Date published: 2009-09-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Deadly By "deadly", I mean that it hit close to home. Like Alice, I, too, am 50. Those times when you go upstairs and then forget why you went up... that's what happens to Alice in the beginning of the book. Silly little slips we put down to being preoccupied, busy, whatever. The scary thing was how quickly Alice's condition worsened. The book was very realistic and believeable, which is what made it scary. Fortunately for Alice (without giving away the ending), she and her husband were extremely well off, and she had the supportive of her grown children. I worry for the rest of us. This book may not make you cry, but it will give you a jolt.
Date published: 2009-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One Everyone NEEDS to Read! This is definatly a book that captures you from the beginnning to end. One everyone should read in their lifetime. You'll smile, cry, and laugh as you put yourself in their shoes. Enjoy!
Date published: 2009-09-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Was an excellent book. Very well written and very moving - had me thinking and thinking!
Date published: 2009-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lost in Alice's World I loved this book so much. Every time I read it I became so lost in Alice's world. For me, the moment where I gained the greatest understanding was when the author compared the feeling with having woken up from a dream and not being able to remember what the dream was about. It is really difficult to understand what a person afflicted with Alzheimers is going through and this book was able to give me just a glimpse of understanding. Very well researched and written, a must read!
Date published: 2009-08-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great I was hesitant in picking up this novel, as the subject matter is just a liitle too close to home. My mother suffers from alzheimers . A friend of mine highly recommended that I read it.and I am very glad I did. Alice's journey in this disease is so accurate, it was as though Lisa Genova had a video camera in my house and documented the last 6 years.This book helped me so much in really understanding the disease as we see it through the eyes of Alice. This book made me laugh, made me cry and made me mad .( John especially) It is an extremely sensitive and gripping story. I highly recommend this to anyone. I had hoped for a different ending, which is why I did not give it 5 stars.
Date published: 2009-08-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from poignant and bright i was enthralled and i completely believed in the characters, their depth and their lively personalities. it is not often that heros are intellectuals, it seems, and i appreciated it. so we respond emotionnaly and intellectually to the challenges facing Alice. i totally recommend it.
Date published: 2009-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read Lisa Genova captured the character of Alice so vividly that the novel read like a memoir. I have recommended this book as a must in everyone's library. The one sentence that stuck with me is when Alice says " I wish I had cancer because at least there is hope." Thank you Lisa Genova for making us understand a little bit better the struggles of the patient and the family.
Date published: 2009-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW. I found this book to be incredibly addictive, I read it in two days. The characters were wonderful and it really shed light on such a worldwide affliction that we cannot even begin to understand unless it happens close to home. This book made me understand. I read it again right after I finished it. I love it, what a real triumph for Lisa Genova--absolutely brilliant!
Date published: 2009-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awsome! I just couldn't put this book down! I cried time to time and I just couldn't wait to read next chapter. Its about Harvard Professor diagnosed with Alzheimer and it shows how she changes over time and how her family comes together for her. Must read!
Date published: 2009-07-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Realy great Very Nice story its kind of a Kind like story Defently a must read if you like the Shack you would like this one and vice versa
Date published: 2009-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent...heartbreaking Still Alice is a heartbreaking real depiction of Alice a 50 year old woman descent into early unset Alzheimer. It must be so hard to know that you can't think or do what you have been doing, living and loving....also how a person can be so unsure of everything all the time and miss feeling needed and wanted. Alice said it so well in her speech quote unquote " My yesterdays are disappearing, but that doesn't mean that I didn't live every second. I will forget today but that doesn't mean that today didn't matter." This book is very informative just so real...
Date published: 2009-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read I hesitated in reading this book as it is such a frightening topic. But I was intrigued and gave it a try. I'm so glad I did. This book grabbed me from the beginning. You can identify with the main character and move through her illness with her. You feel her confusion, fear, frustrations, anger, determination and love. The book provides a view of Alzheimer's Disease that we don't get very often. Most talk is of the struggles and heartaches of the caregivers, not the victim. I would highly recommend reading this book, you won't be sorry.
Date published: 2009-06-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gripping and enlightening What a great story. A very easy read; couldn't put it down! I have never really put much thought into Alzheimers before, but boy, was this story enlightening. Alice is a lovable, relatable character, with a successful career, a busy but devoted husband, and children each at their own stages of life. When Alzheimers takes over and changes her dynamics with each, it is heartbreaking. I found myself very sad for Alice and all her family members throughout the novel, and can only imagine what true Alzheimers patients and their families go through. You will leave this book wanting to go and spend time with your loved ones and to cherish every moment, knowing that with a disease like this you can lose it all too easily.
Date published: 2009-06-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Still Alice This is a book I wish I had read before becoming terrified about early-onset Alzheimer's in my Abnormal Psychology class. It's a wonderful bridge between psychological facts and the sad truths related to dealing with diagnosis. Alice, as a cognitive psychology professor has a unique viewpoint about the disease that is interesting and informative to read. As a prominent researcher and loving mother and wife we also can't help but feel for her and identify with the universal feeling of losing oneself and losing control of our own lives. A beautiful and tragic story. Flawlessly written and with some fabulous symbolism to boot! You can't go wrong with this one!
Date published: 2009-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't Put it Down! This book was given as a gift, and I couldn't have asked for anything better. This book was so personal, that while Alice is going through the progression of Alzheimer's disease, you truly feel her confusion and disorientation, like your going through the disease side by side with her. This book is so heartbreaking, I cried a numerous amount of times, and it gives you authentic insight into the life of a patient with early-onset Alzheimer's. This book is so amazing, I recommend it to everyone! It DEFINITELY lived up to the hype surrounding it! Fantastic!
Date published: 2009-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Although disconcerting, one of the best books I've ever read. This author addresses the topic of Alzheimers from the unique perch of the first person-the one afflicted with the disease. Its fascinating to see the progress of the disease from that perspective. Both heartwarming and melancholy at the same time, this book is so well written you feel like you're living Alice's life along with her. Read in two days, I couldn't leave Alice's life for more than a few hours. Read on a weekend.
Date published: 2009-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing when I picked this up and started to read i was a bit skeptical.. but i soon found that I was completely unable to put it down ... I felt that this was an honest view into the life of someone dealing with this disease... I would suggest having a box of Kleenex beside you while you read... By the end i certainly needed it...
Date published: 2009-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still Alice i felt like this was a very accurate description of someone with a dementia i cried when she couldnt find the bathroom and i cried at the end when she remembered that she had written the book with her husband .... in my line of work i come into contact with alot of people living with alzhiemers.. the book reopned my eyes on to what they could be going through..
Date published: 2009-05-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Still Alice... Still Alice is a great novel about how Alzheimers disease affects individuals and families. The downwards spiral Alice takes from first being diagnosed to the ending of the story is tragically enjoyable to follow along with. A book ripe with emotions, Still Alice is a definite 'must read'
Date published: 2009-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still Alice This was the best book of it's genre since My Stroke of Insight.....loved it....couldn't put it down....could be I'm in "that age bracket", nonetheless it was superb.
Date published: 2009-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb,heartbreaking I purchased this book when I recently started a job in senior's long term care, where we care for a high number of individuals with dementia. This book is riveting and hard to put down. The author captures the world of dementia with a balance of heartbreak, laughter and reality. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2009-05-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! I didn't know how much I was going to like this book - but I usually try 'Heather's Picks' out, and I am glad I did. This book is is very emotional and written in a way that makes you really stop and think about people with Altzeimer's - the way they actually think - not the way most people portray them. Definitely would recommend friends and family alike to read this book.
Date published: 2009-05-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book This has got to be one of my all time favorite books. I found myself questioning my own competence as I followed Alice's metal deterioration. We are about the same age but unlike Alice I am not a Harvard professor so I tend to consider myself a few steps lower on the mental capabilities ladder before we even get started which means I would probably reach the bottom before she did. At times it was very difficult to remember that this is a work of fiction. It often felt too real which is one of the reasons I occasionally found myself frightened by what I was reading. I strongly feel that everyone should read this book. People with early onset Alzheimer's could find some comfort in Alice's story. It isn't all gloom and doom. People without the illness could find some insight into that world. Physicians may pick up a few pointers as well. People who are sick are still people. One word that keeps repeating itself in my mind is "compassion". Read this book. Everyone. Please!
Date published: 2009-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! What a great read! A story that starts on Page 1 and continues to grow throughout. A sad and real view on a debilitating disease.
Date published: 2009-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tear Jerker! The book is absolutely great! Although a relatively short novel, it took we a while to read; once the tears started going, I had to put it down and try again another time. Now, I believe that a book that can make you cry, is definetly a great book. The author did an amazing job describing what alzheimer's feels like for the sufferer, and also how it affects the family.
Date published: 2009-05-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartwarming My Mother suffers from Dementia and I have wondered how she felt as she was losing her memories.... I now have an idea. God Bless all those who suffer from Dementia and Alzheimer Disease.
Date published: 2009-05-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from heartwrenching & heartwarming Relished every single word. Truly a gift to learn about this insidious disease from the inside out.
Date published: 2009-05-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Book! This was a very enjoyable read! The story is so compelling and well written that I have recommended it to all my friends and family to read.
Date published: 2009-05-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Still Alice I would like to recommend a novel to everyone, Still Alice. The novel is about a fifty-year-old female Harvard professor who is diagnosed with early onset Alzeimers and it follows her after her diagnosis focusing mainly on her family (her husband and three grown children) as well as her internal thoughts. I promise it isn't as depressing as it sounds, it's a "heather's pick" and Heather admitted that the last thing that she wanted to read was a book about Alzeimers but she's really glad she decided to read it. I feel the same. The subject matter is serious, of course, but the novel is very readable, very interesting. I bought it less than 9 hours ago and I already finished it!! That's how readable it is. It almost made me cry, not because it was sad, but because of a really sweet scene where one of her students wrote down how much she meant to him and gave it to her so she could remember how he felt. This novel is well-written and touching. Beautiful and fairly simple. It was good.
Date published: 2009-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read! As a nurse in a senior's facility, I thought I knew more than the average person about Alzheimer's Disease. This book opened my eyes to AD in ways that lectures, classes, and textbooks never could. My heart breaks for Alice from the very first, and for her family second -- all knowing she has the disease, its definite outcome and the helplessness of being unable to halt the inevitable. Ms. Genova takes us right inside the thought processes of those with Alzheimer's, seeing their world, and forgetting their world as they do. I could not put this book down. It may be a novel, but it contains helpful, insightful information on this horrible disease. Truly a must read for anyone with loved ones, friends or patients with Alzheimer's. Definitely a book for my 'all time favorites' list.
Date published: 2009-05-01

Extra Content

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 or 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: 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

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.”