Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: Still Alice by Lisa Genova

“And while a bald head and a looped ribbon were seen as badges of courage and hope, her reluctant vocabulary and vanishing memories advertised mental instability and impending insanity. Those with cancer could expect to be supported by their community. Alice expected to be an outcast.” 

Still Alice by Lisa Genova was a tough read for several different reasons. But here's the synopsis from Goodreads: 

Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life--and her relationship with her family and the world--forever.

To say I "enjoyed" this book would not be an accurate assessment of my feelings. I definitely found this book to be valuable in the way literary fiction is. I learned a lot about Alzheimers disease that I may not have ordinarily learned like the sheer desperation the disease causes and the embarrassment the ailed feel. I honestly couldn't imagine being in a constant state of panic because everything around you has lost all meaning and context. So clearly my issue wasn't with the plot. My problems with the book lied more so with the writing and the themes. 

The decision to write the book in 3rd person was a mistake. If we would've solely taken this journey through Alice's eyes we would have felt more in tune with the story. I also wanted Genova to pay more attention to the intimate moments in Alice's life instead having most of the description be about the scenery. I would recommend this book to the literary fiction lover in your life. I normally don't read Lit-Fic but this was the second book chosen in my book club, and I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. 
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