Rated Reads

Still Alice

by Lisa Genova

Rated: High

Alice Howland has a satisfying life; she has a successful career as a professor at Harvard University, three grown children and an equally successful husband. There are a few things she wouldn’t mind changing, such as her youngest daughter’s dubious career path, but overall, she is largely happy. But then she starts forgetting things; she could chalk up these lapses to menopause or stress, but stranger things happen that make her wonder and finally make an appointment with her doctor.

Alice is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and the news devastates her. It quickly affects her ability to work and makes her wonder who she is and who she can be without the abilities she has always prized.

Reading Still Alice reminded me of reading Flowers for Algernon; it has the same first-person point of view of descending into forgetfulness, of the brain letting one down. It also has a similar poignancy; the reader can empathize easily with the main character’s plight. It’s scary to know what will happen, and it’s sad for the reader when the deeply personal forgetting happens at the end. Still Alice is a wonderful book that helps to remind all of us that much more needs to be done in research to find ways to effectively treat this devastating disease.

Rated: High, for six or seven uses of strong language and some other mild and moderate language.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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