Saturday, July 2, 2011
By Lisa Genova
Lisa Genova, is a psychologist with a Ph.D in neuroscience. She self published her novel, and sold her books by word of mouth, and from the trunk of her car.
Alice is a 50 year old, married with early onset Alzheimer's Disease. Her husband is a research scientist. She has three adult children already living away from home.
The book feels like you are reading a memoir. Each chapter, is set in the next month as we see Alice regress further and further from herself. The novel, starts before diagnosis to when she looses herself.
It starts with she can't find her keys, where her cell phone is, forgets what she is covering in class. Not being able to recognize where she is. She chalks it up to the stress, getting older, menopause setting it. But, this is not the case as she is diagnosed.
As the disease progresses we see what happens to Alice, and how it affects her and her family. Alice loses her self and who she is. The only one that seems to help Alice with her feelings and emotions is her daughter, Lydia.
After a year passes, Harvard is concerned about her teaching. The director of her department is recieving evaluations from her students. The reviews are terrible, but honest. The dean decides she would be more useful in a advisory role, not in teaching.
The story goes into Alice's head dealing with her feelings, anger, and her frustration as she looses her faculties.
My thought: This is a hard book to describe what I thought about it. I read this book because I like reading books that deal with mental disorders.
The book reads like it is non-fiction. Sometimes you forget you are reading a novel. What makes the novel unique is that she made her characters, into very educated people.
Alice, being a psychologist more interesting. This gave the book more depth.
I have always wanted to know what people with Alzheimer's are thinking. Because several times I am taking care of them. They look empty, they look like they are somewhere else. Where did they go?? Are they regressing back to early time? What I have wondered why they can recall their long term memory? Is this because they can't remember short term memory? Or because they want to remember when they were little because it is a happier and safer time?
I have been talking to a few friends of mine about this book. What do you think of a book club reading and discussing this?
I can't see any of my members reading this. Possibly because if you have a medical disease, even if it is terminally. There is always hope. With Alzheimer's Disease it is a death sentence. You know there is not a cure, there is isn't any hope.
We have had a few member's that have family members diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Yes, they can connect with this novel. But I am sure it stirs up bad memories. They don't want to remember how their parent was.
This is a hard book to get through. I think anyone that is taking care of someone with Alzheimer's, or wanting to know more about it would become more aware what it is like.
I would like to praise this book, but at the same time it is hard to read. I hope this review doesn't stop people from reading it. Because I still think this is a awesome novel. I would also like to recommend a novel, that I am also finished reading is, Turn of Mind. A different perspective of Alzheimer's Disease. I will be posting on that soon.