Friday, October 28, 2011

Still Alice

I accepted an invitation to another book club. Yesterday evening, I enjoyed meeting with the six other ladies in the Green Room at the Bookshelf Cafe.

While it had been a while since I read Still Alice, the storyline stayed with me. 

Alice Howland, a Harvard professor of linguistics, is having trouble remembering words and where she left certain items. At first, she dismisses these lapses, but she cannot ignore the situation when she forgets how to get home after her jog one fateful morning. She makes an appointment with a neurologist, who diagnoses her with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease.

The book chronicles Alice's demise and her family's reaction as they struggle toward acceptance. While a few of the other book club members disapproved of  her husband's behaviour and some of his decisions, I could understand his rationale. John Howland knew his limitations and realized he couldn't handle the rapid progression of Alice's illness. That is typical of most families facing this frightening diagnosis and the aftermath. Each family member will react and respond differently. Not everyone can assume the role of primary caregiver.

I was inspired by Lisa Genova's story. After graduating with a Ph.D in neuroscience, her eighty-five-year-old grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. As Genova visited with her grandmother, she became fascinated with the progression of the illness. She wondered what it would be like when parts of the brain stopped functioning. She decided to meet people with Alzheimer's in the early stages, people who could still describe what it was like to have dementia. Their stories helped Lisa Genova create this compelling novel.

I highly recommend this book. All of us have been or will be impacted, in some way, by Alzheimer's Disease.

No comments:

Post a Comment