You live life to the full. You have a great job and you are proud of what you have achieved so far. A nice family life, just like everyone with their own little struggles. You have a rich social life, you love running and you have, seemingly, a healthy body.
Until simple words escape you while giving a presentation. You completely forget an important appointment and during your usual run around the block you suddenly can’t remember where you are. Things that normally never happen to you. You blame your busy job. After all, you are professor of psychology at Harvard University. You travel around the world for conferences in your field of work and you supervise a number of PhD students.
Alice is almost 50 years old. After a visit to the GP and various tests with a neurologist, Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed. This disease really is a silent killer. There are drugs that can slow down the process, but often the disease is diagnosed late in the process. As with Alice, doctors initially link the symptoms for example to menopause, insomnia or a burn-out.
Lisa Genova describes subtle but ruthless how Alzheimer’s disease affects the life of Alice and her family. It is extremely moving, but also frightening to read that Alice loses control of her mind. The story has made a huge impression on me. All these beautiful memories that slowly slip away, the faces of people dear to you that you suddenly do not recognize anymore. Really heartbreaking and in a way my worst nightmare. You must read this book if you would like to understand something about Alzheimer’s disease.
When the film about this book came out in 2014, I first wanted to read the book, as usual. However, there were other books to read first. Last year, a lovely neighbour gave me this book and last month I read the book almost in one go. In the film, actress Julianne Moore is starring as Alice. In 2015 she won the Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA award for best actress in a leading role. You might have guessed…..I’m going to watch the movie Still Alice very soon!
Lisa Genova has a PhD in neuroscience at Harvard University. She wrote several novels that are inspired by her field and the human brain.
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