Review – Still Alice


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Still Alice actually dates from ~2009 or so, but is newly in the spotlight on account of the film starring Julianne Moore. The book doesn’t show particular promise in the first 50 pages or so, but as Alice’s early-onset Alzheimer’s disease progresses, the story begins to engross. The author Lisa Genova writes the characters with a somewhat heavy hand – that Alice’s relationship with her daughter Lydia is due for a life-affirming transformation is obvious from the first scene – but her writing about the disease is masterful. If Alzheimer’s Disease were a character in this novel, it would steal every scene. One watches with horror and disbelief as Alice’s relationships fade to blank. Before she disappears entirely, Alice wistfully wishes she had cancer instead. Cancer can be “fought”; cancer is a cue for bedside visits and comradely fundraisers. Alzheimer’s can scarcely even be treated, let alone cured, and inspires only pity and embarrassment – difficult emotions which Genova captures deftly. In short the book is a compelling read, and will almost certainly inspire all who read it to revisit their perceptions of those who suffer from Alzheimer’s.

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