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on December 18, 2014
I know this novel received tremendous reviews but I found the writing somewhat lacking. I think this book is "over-reviewed" due to the fact that there is not a lot of novels/fiction out there dealing with this subject. Coming from a family with Alzheimers, I appreciated what the author was trying to say. Some of the facts were scary and enlightening to me. I just thought the novel lacked depth with respect to writing. Characters, other than Alice, were not very fleshed out. And we had the standard cliché of misunderstood daughter finally bonding with her mom due to life threatening illness. Honestly, I think the movie starring Julianne More will most likely be the better choice.
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on May 4, 2015
I haven't seen the movie; the movie versions always disappoint me so I've avoided it. I loved this book. I never once considered what it must be like to have Alzheimers taking over your brain, how frustrating it is, and how much it sends your people into denial or not understanding or whatever. How helpless it makes you feel. It is not something that "if you just a little harder" you can recapture your memory and your functionability. You ahve no control over it. I was very disappointed in her husband, so non supportive of her, so self-centered. I'm glad she was able to avoid his choices.
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on October 24, 2015
Dr. Alice Howland celebrates her 50th birthday and realizes she's not herself. She's built her life on the study of language and words and suddenly her words are lost in everyday conversations. Names and places escape her. While out for a run one day, she can't find her way home, a route she's taken a thousand times before. Alice tries to write these changes off to menopause but that is not the cause. Alice is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease.

Having recently turned 60, the topic of Still Alice scares me. Every little ache and pain is cause for alarm. My memory is certainly not what it used to be and that just sucks. I know too many people around my age who have suffered through physical or mental illness themselves or of a loved one. The clock is ticking. I usually have a positive outlook on life, but that 60th birthday threw me for a loop and I haven't recovered. Still Alice made me think about what may lie ahead for me and my family. I know that age is strictly a number and soon I'll be back to my youthful mindset. But Alice didn't have that option and that made me sad.

Still Alice is a beautifully written and crafted novel. The reader follows Alice step by step as the disease changes her. We see her triumphs and her failures. We watch her husband and children try to come to grips with the changes in their lives too. Still Alice is difficult to read, her disease is a painful and heartbreaking one. It's one that once we reach a certain age, we all fear will happen to us. And that's probably the one thing about Alzheimer's that's normal, the angst that we all see in it.

I learned a lot from this book and the most important is that every human being that suffers from any form of dementia is still a person who lives. Alice was Still Alice living a life full of hope, and for that I'm glad.
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VINE VOICEon January 17, 2011
So many of us base a huge measure of our self-worth on our careers and spend so much of our time trying to get better and better at what we do that when/if we don't have our jobs to focus on any more, we feel lost and useless.

That is what happens with Alice Howland, a tenured professor at Harvard University when she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers Disease. She is in her early 50's, extremely well respected in her field, by her fellow staff members, by her children, and especially by her husband. And then she starts losing that piece of herself and other pieces. This book tells the tale of how she deals with these overwhelming losses and also how those around her do, too.

Alzheimers Disease and other forms of dementia are heartbreaking - for the person with the disease and everyone around them. Many members of my family and my husband's family have been afflicted. It is terrible to watch people you love so much just start to fade away, piece by piece.

This book is spot-on in the descriptions of different steps that happen and it is one of the best books I have ever read. It was extremely difficult to read this book because it brought back so many memories but it is a book everyone should read because at one time or another everyone knows someone with this terrible disease in one form or another.
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on October 22, 2015
To give it five stars (I love it) is somewhat misleading, because the book was certainly disturbing and thus hard to get through. On the other hand, the author's knowledge of Alzheimer's certainly made this a very worthwhile read for those with friends/parents/relatives who are suffering from this most cruel disease. As one who has a former spouse diagnosed with this disease, it was very informative, while at the same time being quite disturbing. I can only imagine the pain/confusion/depression of those with Alzheimer's, but Genova's book definitely gave me better insight into this disease. I call this a "cruel" disease, because not only is it ultimately fatal, but it kills very slowly, as the person gradually loses his/her memory, and with the victim, at least until the very end, very aware of what s/he is losing. I can understand why my ex's main caretakers wish me to remain in the background, because contact with me would likely disrupt her routine and lead to further depression, because she would realize that I was once a very important person in her life, but one of whom she currently has no memories. I feel that Genova's treatment of the disorder in this book does an excellent job of presenting the disorder from the point of view of the victim. Of course, much of it, especially near the end, has to be speculation, but it's very reasonable, believable expectation. I'd definitely recommend this book highly to those who have been diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer's and those who are dealing with friends/relatives with Alzheimer's. I doubt that anyone will really "enjoy" this book, but hopefully you'll learn a lot from reading it.
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on June 20, 2017
A bit depressing, but very educational. I learned a lot about the progression of dementia, and liked that it was written from the point of view of the person suffering from early onset Alzheimer's Disease. The author has the credentials to write it and did a great job of admitting me to a world I never want to be a resident of. Helped me to deal more empatheticly with people with memory issues.
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on January 5, 2015
This amazing, but, to me, troubling book was assigned for our local book club. As soon as I began reading it I became rivetted in a love/ hate relationship. The person closest to me personally had been diagnosed with altzheimer's disease within the past six months but had shown symptoms for the past two years. This person did not have early onset as Alice in the book. I didn't want to continue the book, but I could not put it down. I cried numerous times. I decided I could not go to the book club discussion. This is how real and genuine this book is. If you want to try to understand the disease, by all means read it. I came away with new ideas of how to deal with the symptoms of my loved one and helpful ideas of how not to deal with the symptoms. I also felt a sympathy for the early-onset disaster to a competent, brilliant, and highly successful person having their career, and their most basic identity, stripped from them in the prime of their life. In some ways, this could have been me, and I felt deeply for this Alice. The characters and the story line of the book also are well presented and contribute to keeping the reader ingrossed.
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on January 21, 2016
“Still Alice” is a novel about Alice Howland, a 50-year-old cognitive psychology professor at Harvard, who finds that she has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The story traces Alice’s increasing impairment over a two-year period. It begins with some minor forgetfulness, such as forgetting names, words in conversation and where she put her Blackberry. She then has an incident in which she gets lost while on her daily run through familiar territory. The book tells of Alice’s struggle to maintain her independence as she deals with her increasing forgetfulness and confusion. As Alice’s dementia progresses, the family dynamics change. Her husband struggles with a career decision, knowing that change would affect Alice. Their children struggle with losing their mother as they know her.

The author, Lisa Genova, holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience. Yet the author looks compassionately and honestly at a terrible disease. She has created a believable story, a likeable heroine, and placed her in a loving but imperfect family. The author is honest in her depiction of the husband’s reaction to his wife’s disease. The result is an engaging work of fiction that gives the reader a sense of what it must be like to live with Alzheimer’s disease.
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on July 1, 2015
Fortunately I have never had to experience someone with dementia or Alzheimer's. I have spoken with and heard stories from, however, plenty of people who have. I know two people who said they have no interest in seeing the movie because of what they experienced - too painful for them. Part of me wants to see the movie because I understand the acting is wonderful - I envisioned the actors while reading the book. Another part of me wonders if it can really portray the descriptions of what Alice goes through. I read the book mainly to be educated - and I was. Especially with regard to Early Onset - I'd only always envisioned the disease happening to the elderly. This is a very well written, poignantly told story. I share a few examples of wonderful passages which made me pause to really digest:

-They each hesitated before they hugged, as if they were about to practice a newly learned dance and weren't quite confident of the first step or who should lead. Or it was an old dance, but they hadn't performed it together in so long that each felt unsure of the choreography.
-If it weren't for the colossal seawall constructed at the edges of the properties of the million-dollar homes along Shore Road, the ocean would have taken each house in, devouring them all without sympathy or apology. She imagined her Alzheimer's like this ocean at Lighthouse Beach--unstoppable, ferocious, destructive. Only there were no seawalls in her brain to protect her memories and thoughts from the onslaught.
-She felt like the biggest part of her self, the part she'd praised and polished regularly on its mighty pedestal, had died. And the other smaller, less admired parts of her self wailed with self-pitying grief, wondering how they would matter at all without it.
-....the meaning in the woman's questions and in Alice's own answers were like soap bubbles, the kind children blew out of those little plastic wands, on a windy day. They drifted away from her quickly and in dizzying directions, requiring enormous strain and concentration to track.
-The words she read seemed to push past the choking weeds and sludge in her mind to a place that was pristine and still intact, hanging on.

Be sure to read "A Conversation with Lisa Genova" at the end of the novel, so much insight to be gained about the story - and the wonderful author.
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on June 14, 2016
This is a very thought provoking book to be sure. I read it through and did not skip around like I sometimes do. The author definitely knew her subject and she did an excellent job with this book. It was not the happiest of books but then I did not expect it to be. I had looked forward to reading it and wanted to read before I attended the movie - which is never as good as the book, in my opinion. Haven't been to the movie yet but plan on viewing it soon. This is the kind of book that does stay with you for a long time. I will not forget it as it was most memorable unlike a lot of books that I have read.
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