Book review: Still Alice By Lisa Genova

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Hey everybody!

Back again.

You were expecting me to be away for a lot longer? Honestly, so was I, but I’ve got these long overdue book reviews that keep eyeballing me and I wanted to write them up before I go mad.

In general terms, the book review is positive and the negatives aren’t really negative or critical, they are instead, along the lines of optimistic thoughts.

“But you’re a bit late to the party Lex.”

Yes, I’m well aware. But better late than never, eh? Besides, there’s no chance of me providing the spoilers because most have in fact read it.

In terms of positives, there are plentiful so I’m just going to pick out three important points.

Firstly, the idea that the book is from Alice’s (the main character) perspective is the most important point of the story as it shows a deep level of sympathy and understanding which the reader can empathise. Also, it makes the story a whole lot more personal and therefore the disease a lot more cruel. I’ll be honest, I don’t know an awful lot on the subject of Alzeheimers and this book has led me to do a bit more research into it, but everything I’ve thus far read always talks about the shock at the disease’s progress on loved ones and friends. I’m glad that someone has taken the time to properly research and write a book about a subject which is slowly becoming less taboo. It is important in everyone’s culture to start the conversation and slowly come to terms with accepting it. The main reason why it is so taboo is because it is a frightening concept trying to accept that the person you love the most, will not only forget who you are and that you ever existed but whose personality will disappear first before they physically do. It cannot be emphasised enough that we have to talk about this issue, not just for ourselves but for those researching and attempting to find cures.

Secondly, the italics crop up when we least expect it but it has served as a useful reminder of just how shocking, and how much of a reality shock it can be. They do have the same tests here in the UK, but the general consensus here is that perhaps these test don’t work. Either that or it isn’t clear what these tests prove. However with this book, the difference is obvious and I can understand why it has been used as a literary device.

Thirdly, the repetitive sentence structure works really well, although in relatively normal circumstances would not work and found quite irritating to the reader.  The use of this literary device (if one can call it that) is gradual and to most of us we don’t notice it until we get to the end of the book. Towards the end of the book it feels rather routine and normal.

On the other hand, the other criticism I have of this (again, it’s not intended to be overly negative just some thoughts for future research for writers in the future) is although there were characters who did have other types of Alzheimers, and there was a general gist of their stories, it lacked a lot of detail. For me, it felt as though it was scratching the surface and there was so much more to be discovered about what they have and thus almost entirely focused on Alice and what she has. On reflection, this is as much about perspective as it is about anything else. There is a lot more research still to be done on the subject and its causes as we all still have a lot of gaps in our knowledge. The more we know, the more rounded a view we will have on Alzheimers.

This leads me on to my last point. It has come to mind that perhaps now we need more writers like Genova who will write about the different types of dementia whether in fiction or non-fiction. It would be good to see these different types of dementia portrayed from other perspectives and in particular how it affects the family of the person with dementia.

Find the book on Amazon US here

Find the book on Amazon UK here

Find me on Twitter here

Find me on Goodreads here

Speak soon,

LexC

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