Ms Genova explodes onto the scene with a stunning debut novel looking into the complex world of Alzheimers Disease. Still Alice is a story, not of Alzheimer’s but primarily of Alice, her life and career. The dementia struggles are a by product in this book.
While every person that suffers from Alzheimers can be seen to have some symptoms that are carbon copies, those who suffer and more so their families will tell you that every single sufferer has a different story to tell.
This book, and the subsequent film are a portrait that has been painted for others to view with the potential to see themselves in.
As an ex-registered nurse with extensive experience in dementia, Still Alice was a revelation in the way it discussed dementia needs. It told the story from the inside out. It told the story from the reverse. It told you not what families deal with but how the sufferer is feeling.
The book shares the story of Dr Alice Howland who has just celebrated her 50th birthday. Her life is centred around Harvard and her linguistics job but when everyday words are lost, she knows that there is something wrong. While out for a run, she finds herself unable to get home. It’s a route that she has taken many times. She is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
This well written and extremely well researched novel follows Alice as the disease changes her. We see how her family deal with things. It’s a hard book to read given that we have all no doubt seen or heard of someone in our life going through traumatic diagnosis like this. It is none the less, a book of substance, character and depth.
It is extremely translatable to the big screen and proved its worth with an Oscar to its leading lady.