Lisa Genova’s Still Alice is a fictional novel that tells the story of a successful neuroscientist who is diagnosed with early-onset familial Alzheimer’s disease. Throughout the book, Alice grapples with the frustrations that face anyone affected by Alzheimer’s disease, from becoming disoriented while traveling to the humiliation of incontinence. We follow her from mild cognitive decline over several years to profound dementia in the later stages of her life. The book was made into a movie in 2014.
Being a neuroscientist herself (one who parallels Alice in a variety of ways), Lisa Genova is more than familiar with the science of Alzheimer’s disease. Her discussion of the genetics of familial Alzheimer’s disease, as detailed during Alice’s visits to a genetic counselor, is both informative and interesting to read. We witness the gradual progression of Alice’s symptoms in all its unfiltered rawness. Despite being fictional, Still Alice maintains its scientific accuracy throughout the story.
Despite including discussions of genetics and neuroscience, the information is portrayed in a way that is easily understandable to the average reader. The poignant emotions and vidid imagery throughout the book make it captivating from beginning to end. The story is simultaneously heartbreaking and full of hope and beauty. An abundance of rich detail often made me forget that the story was fictional. I greatly enjoyed reading this book and would highly recommend it to anyone.
Overall Rating: 5 stars