After reading something as hilarious and incredibly adorable as The Hundred-Year-Old man, I eased back into reading the pile of books I bought on my mini shopping spree. Since the film was released, I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about Still Alice (mostly Julianne Moore and her Oscar nomination). What I didn’t realized was that it was a case of book-made-movie. Not so much on a whim, I purchased it, seriously curious to see what all the hype was about. This post is heavier on quotes than my previous reviews but I really needed to show the haunting beauty of Lisa Genova’s writing.
“My yesterdays are disappearing, and my tomorrows are uncertain, so what do I live for? I live for each day. I live in the moment.”
This book is so emotional! It punched me in the tear ducts and lemme tell you, it is not easy to make me cry. What separates Still Alice from all the usual New York Times bestsellers in the market today is the genre and the topic of the story. This book is no chick lit. It’s not another dystopian, Nicholas Sparks romance book, nor is it a murder mystery. This novel dwells on the reality and the terrifying effects of living with Alzheimer’s disease can have. The story itself is beautifully crafted was well as written. Genova, who is evidently knowledgeable on the subject, does not hesitate to delve into medical jargon and the grislier aspects of the disease.
Eloquent, deeply-moving and completely terrifying.
Questions it forced me to ask myself: Who are we without our memories? Are we really more than just the memories? Who would we be without these memories.
All of these questions were swirling in my mind long after I finished reading it. I can’t stop thinking about it and when I was reading it, I couldn’t put it down. It was the story of Alice, a brilliant professor of cognitive psychology at Havard and world-renowned expert in linguistics who discovers she has early onset Alzheimer’s.
“Is the part of my brain that’s responsible for my unique ‘me-ness’ vulnerable to this disease? Or is my identity something that transcends neurons, proteins, and defective molecules of DNA? Is my soul and spirit immune to the ravages of Alzheimer’s? I believe it is.”
This book is so frightening on both a biological and psychological level. When I think of Alzheimer’s, I think of forgotten memories, of faces you can’t put a name to, of everyday places that suddenly seem unfamiliar. But Genova’s descriptions of the biological truth are entirely different and terrifying on a whole different level. I didn’t think of it on a biological level or the neurons being destroyed bit by bit, dying some more everyday, eroding pieces of who you are. Alzheimer’s does not make your brain forget memories, it goes in and completely destroys them. As if they were never there.