Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Still Alice

Still Alice

Even then, there were neurons in her head, not far from her ears, that were being strangled to death, too quietly for her to hear them. Some would argue that things were going so insidiously wrong that the neurons themselves initiated events that would lead to their own destruction. Whether it was molecular murder or cellular suicide, they were unable to warn her of what was happening before they died.

In the past few months I have been happy to receive emails, offering books for my review. With most of the books I have had to say, "Thanks, but no thanks," but this was one that I made the time to read. Having studied gerontology in college, and knowing several people who have begun or finished the experience of Alzheimer's, Still Alice intrigued me.

Alice is a professor at Harvard when she is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She is only fifty years old. An important note at this point: I AM FORTY-EIGHT years old; fifty is tomorrow! My age made it impossible to keep the story at arm's length. It became easy to question my every forgetful moment, even if they are the kind of forgetful moments I have had since birth.

At the beginning of the story, I only cared about Alice; her children and her husband left me empty and wanting. For the most part, though, the growth and change in the characters and their relationships was both touching and troubling, a realistic look at the realities of such a tragic disease.

Not a book that soothes the soul, but an important opportunity for empathy. High recommended.

For more information: Still Alice

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