…by Lisa Genova.
Alice, around fifty years old, is a respected Harvard Professor, at the peak of her career. Along with her successful career, Alice has a doting family – her husband, John, a fellow Professor at Harvard, and her three children Anna, Tom and Lydia. A picture perfect life she leads even with the little disagreements here and there with family, until she starts noticing a pattern of absentmindedness – losing her way back home after a run, not being able to remember words / complete sentences during lectures / seminars, forgetting to catch a plane to attend a conference, etc. Even though she disregards these as symptoms of menopause and/or stress, she decides to the doctor for a check up, which eventually leads to the diagnosis that Alice has early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
What happens next? How she copes with the news; how and when she decides to let the family know; what their reactions are; what happens to her career; how they (Alice and family) handle her deteriorating memory – do they have a plan; what are her treatment options, if any – the rest of the novel answers all these, and any other, questions that a reader might have.
How Alice’s normal lifestyle changes over a short period of time, requiring her to depend so much on others, leaves a mark. How her family stands by her and provides a strong support system for her to lean on during hard times makes one realize the importance of relationships. How Alice, after learning that she’s battling a disease that has no cure yet, does everything to prepare herself to face the future, teaches confidence. All in all, this story about Alice’s life is affected by Alzheimer’s disease is heart breaking.
The writing style, although simple, is a bit too scientific in parts – I won’t complain though, I got to learn few things…it was informative and educational. The amount of time the author has spent researching – both the scientific and emotional aspects of the disease and its effects – shouldn’t be overlooked; it is praiseworthy because she makes the reader connect with the characters, all the while spreading awareness.
My only tiny issue with the story – even after completing the novel, I don’t feel like I am done reading. It feels incomplete, I am not sure why. Other than that, I absolutely enjoyed this book.
Overall, this book of hope, optimism and love, is an interesting read.
My rating: 4*.
*for the rating scale, click here.