Thursday, July 7, 2016

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

" I miss myself." 
"I miss you, too, Ali, so much."
" I never planned to get like this."
"I know." 
-Still Alice by Lisa  Genova
 

I read, Still Alice in March of 2009 and decided it was time to revisit this story. I remain moved and heartbroken. Alice has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease and this is her story. It is unique in that the story is told from Alice's perspective. We usually read/hear about how, Alzheimer impacts the family and not the individual.

Genova has written Alice's story so that you live if with her, through her mind. You feel her anguish, frustrations, fear and doubts. As a reader you lose your "mind" right along with, Alice. You experience the horror of watching yourself forget who you are and who those around you are. Simple, tasks that we take for granted become nearly impossible feats. 

Alice is resilient, high intelligent, fiercely educated and independent but Alzheimer's slowly eats away at those traits, turning her into a former version of herself. Imagine for a moment that you can no longer participate in your favorite activity, for example: You can no longer read a novel because you can't recall what happened 5 pages ago or you reread the same passage over and over and can't keep it in your memory. That is life with Alzheimer's in every capacity.

It is a disease with no cure. I imagine it to be a cruel disease that leave you in a perpetual state of confusion and fear. I have witnessed it. My great-grandmother was diagnosed and the last few years of her life were brutal. She couldn't remember eating, moments after you took away her plate. She couldn't remember that a glass/cup could be placed on a table, so she threw it wherever it would land instead (sometimes aiming at you).

Be prepared to self-analyze yourself while reading this. I know I did!

 

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