I’ve been listening to Still Alice on my Audible account these last few weeks and finished it on Saturday. I have to admit, the main reason I picked this book up was because everyone was reading it for book clubs and as a librarian, I got tired of admitting that I hadn’t read it yet.
It is about a brilliant cognitive psychology researcher and professor who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease at fifty years old. Here’s the cover and blurb:
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.
At once beautiful and terrifying, Still Alice is a moving and vivid depiction of life with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease that is as compelling as A Beautiful Mind and as unforgettable as Judith Guest’s Ordinary People.
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To start with, I want to comment on the recording. The author read this book herself, which I believe is incredibly rare in the industry. I have never heard of someone doing this and she did a great job, so kudos to her.
I really liked the story. It is told just about entirely from Alice’s point of view and so the reader gets a privileged viewed of her experiences, repeating some of the loops that she does as her mental state deteriorates. It felt poetic to me. Still Alice is very well written.
I think it is a great resource for anyone dealing with a loved one who has EOAD, particularly for caregivers. Because it is a fictional account, and not a pamphlet or article written by some well-meaning health centre, it captures the emotions involved and really provides insight into the thought patterns of an individual with Alzheimer’s, providing clarity and understanding to circumstances that appear utterly baffling from the outside.
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