Alzheimer’s. It is a frightening word that represents an even more frightening disease for the elderly, their family and their caregivers. Right. For the elderly and their caregivers – not for fifty year old women such as Alice Howland, Harvard psychology professor. Yet in Still Alice, a novel by Lisa Genova, it is that 50 year old woman who is diagnosed with this tragic disease.
This book chronicles Alice’s experience of the disease from its early stages, pre-diagnosis through the diagnosis and on to the later stages. It is a touching story, one of progressive losses and one of the things that makes the story so powerful and unusual is that it is told from Alice’s point of view. It is Alice who first notices things about her memory, Alice that seeks a diagnosis and later, treatment. And though we experience all of this from Alice’s point of view, in addition, we learn about her three children and her husband who also become victims of this disease.
Still Alice is a sad book. I don’t deny that. However, it is much, much more. It about parents and children, a husband and wife and about a family that finds a way to take care of one of its own. It is a wonderful book.