Friday, July 3, 2015

STiLL ALiCE by Lisa Genova

I have read many books, some that are forgettable, some that I can't put down, and some that I know I will haunt me.  This is one that will stay with me for a long time, a very long time.

Alice, a brilliant professor, loses her place on a jog- suddenly the streets surrounding her home shift to an unknown terrain.  And when they shift back to the familiar she realizes that her life has also shifted.  This book walks with Alice to the first doctor╩╗s visit, to the first neurological test and to get the moment that her terror is named- Alzheimer's. At each of these moments Alice is both her old self and this unknown new apparition that Alzheimer's is creating.  

This isn't a melodrama or a feels-good-happy-ending kind of story where the family lines up and cheers for this poor mom.  Instead, John, her husband, is sort of an ass - avoiding conversations and pretending that HIS life needs to not change.  Lydia, the youngest daughter, on the other hand, connects with her mom in a way she never could with the old Alice.  I liked the reality of the mixed reactions and emotions- because it allowed me to confront my own avoidance and patronizing habits.

Although this is a deeply sad story it is more than that.  Walking hand and hand with the loss of her memory Alice speaks out for those with Alzheimer's in a refreshing way.  She advocates for herself and others even speaking at a conference.  This is not the story of a battle but of a rugged path that absolutely no one would choose!

Through it all Alice is herself with an Alzheimer's coat wrapping her more and more tightly.  

Read it!

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