Still Alice

by jenna on April 28, 2012

Wow. I know I’m probably last to the party here, but I just flipped the last page of Still Alice and don’t even know what to do next.

This book was both amazing and horrifying at the same time, and as a reader, I felt like I was right there going through early-onset Alzheimer’s with Alice. It was so real and vivid, that at some points I had to just set the book down and take a deep breath.

I highly recommend everyone read this book.

Whether someone you love is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease or not, this book will open your eyes to a whole different world and at the end, you will feel changed. Or at least I felt changed.

I found this book in the seat pocket of the plane last week as I was flying home from Louisiana and it was like it was just meant to be there for me. When I finished it, I gave it to my friend and yoga teacher to read so it could keep being passed on. I recommend you guys do the same! Read the book yourself then pass it on to a friend or loved one. This book deserves to be read by everyone.

I can’t wait to read Lisa Genova’s next book because if it’s anything like her first, I know it will be amazing.

What are you guys reading right now?

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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn April 28, 2012 at 4:38 am

This book was passed to me a couple of years ago, and only this year I had the courage to read it. My mother-in-law has later on-set Altzheimer’s, and this book helped me so much to understand what’s going on and what it may be like to walk in her shoes. Few books have stayed with me and caused me as much reflection as Still Alice. I agree that it’s a book everyone should read.

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Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana April 28, 2012 at 4:48 am

I loved this book, and also Left Neglected. Thanks for all the great book recommendations! After reading your review, I picked up just Thrity Umrigar’s The World We Found and really enjoyed it. Have you read one of her other books, The Space Between Us? It is really good!

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Cathy April 28, 2012 at 5:05 am

Loved this book too. Her next book, Left Neglected was just as good. What a great author. I can’t wait to read her next book. Thanks for all the recommendations.

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Cait's Plate April 28, 2012 at 5:13 am

I’ve heard really good things about this – it’s definitely on the list!

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Emily April 28, 2012 at 5:43 am

I read this book as part of a book club, and wow, I was blown away. I agree – it’s a definite must-read.

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Margarita April 28, 2012 at 6:07 am

Thanks for the recommendation, definitely will be added to my never ending stack of books to read. P.S. when I was in Portland two weeks ago, I bought 2 books that you have recommended: The Lost Wife and How to Love an American Man. Can’t wait to get on those. Right now, I’m starting Steve Jobs for book club.

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Margarita April 28, 2012 at 6:12 am

PPS A couple years ago, I watched a Korean love story: A Moment to Remember. It is about a 27 year old fashion designer who had early onset Alzheimer’s. Sweet and heartbreaking… Would recommend watching that movie, that is if you don’t mind reading subtitles.

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amy walters, aDESIGNdock April 28, 2012 at 6:09 am

Love your book review Jenna. I hadn’t heard about Still Alice (I know, sometimes I’m suprised by how clueless I can be). The book sounds so powerful…I must find a copy!

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Julie April 28, 2012 at 6:10 am

Jenna, have you ever been to Kelle Hamptons blog called Enjoying the Small Things? Her book, Bloom, just came out a few weeks ago. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. A beautiful story!

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Shut Up and Run April 28, 2012 at 6:29 am

I found Still Alice totally intriguing and horrifying at the same time. Like you said, a must read.

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Jen April 28, 2012 at 6:35 am

“Intriguing and horrifying” – and sadly a true fact of life. I work with people with Alzheimer’s everyday and so it is something I’ve become used to as another medical condition. However, when I see the families, I can only imagine what it means and does to them.

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Averie @ Averie Cooks April 28, 2012 at 6:50 am

I never had any first hand experience with Alzheimer’s until I was in grad school and a classmate’s mother was suffering. Her mother lived with her and over the years of going to my classmate’s house, I watched her mother deteriorate and saw firsthand what this disease was like and it’s just…horrifying. I am so sorry for everyone who’s lives have been impacted by it!

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Megan April 28, 2012 at 7:26 am

Also love this book and Left Neglected… However now whenever I start forgetting things I warn my husband about early onset Alzheimer’s. Has she authored any more books?

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katie @KatieDid April 28, 2012 at 7:43 am

Next on my list to read, thank you for recommending and spreading the word about it.

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Colette April 28, 2012 at 7:52 am

Just looked through your past book recommendations and found a link to your soon-to-be published book. Just pre-ordered! So happy for your continued success. God bless!

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Tina April 28, 2012 at 9:26 am

omg I loved this book! Left Neglected was good too, but I still think about Still Alice very often.

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Allieush April 28, 2012 at 9:34 am

I’m reading “For One More Day” by Mitch Albom because he came to speak at my school this past week! It is fantastic so far; I definitely recommend it and any other of his books! If you haven’t read them, they are fantastic, very reflective and leave you thinking (sound like “Still Alice” in a way!) and they are quick reads :)

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Janssen April 28, 2012 at 9:53 am

I’m just reading this right now! My mom recommended it to me after her bookclub read it and I can’t stop thinking about it!

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Ashley April 28, 2012 at 10:34 am

Added it to my to-read list on Goodreads! Always love your book recommendations!

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Angie Kelly April 28, 2012 at 11:54 am

I haven’t read it yet, but Blue Asylum looks really good! Civil war era. something along the lines of a husband lying and getting his wife put in an asylum. She falls in love with a ?soldier? in the asylum.

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Laura April 28, 2012 at 11:58 am

I always see this book but haven’t picked it up yet. I’m reading both Cutting For Stone and Fifty Shades of Grey.

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Margarita April 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Cutting for Stone is one of the best books I have ever read… Ever.

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Victoria April 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Agree with Cutting for Stone!

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Betsy April 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Agree with Cutting for Stone!! Just finished “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. I think this is my new favorite book… GO READ IT! Now reading “The Paris Wife” I know I am late to that game but I’m enjoying it so far!

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Julie @ Sugarfoot Eats April 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I’m both feeling like I NEED and CAN’T bear to read this book. Alzheimer’s runs in my family and my Mom is starting to show signs of it more as the years go on. My hope is that this book will help me understand and be more patient with her.

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AdrienneCarolyn April 29, 2012 at 7:36 am

I know how you feel! My father has early onset Alzheimer’s and it is something I can barely deal with..just breaks my heart. I feel like reading this book will be too sad…although I know I should!

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Lori June 15, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Julie, I know how you feel. My mom has Alzheimers, diagnosed just over a year ago, but we were aware of symptoms for years. I battled my step dad, verbally, for years before he finally took her to a neurologist. I anguish over not taking her myself and getting her diagnosed earlier, so we could get her on medicine and maybe slow the symptoms. After reading “Still Alice,” I now understand some of the things she was going through several years ago, and struggling with, while I was impatient and frustrated with her. I feel so bad now, that I realize she couldn’t help it. Of course she wouldn’t have acted that way on purpose. It has been an awful battle, in the last year and a half, but my advice is: don’t turn a blind eye. Be proactive in getting her help and read this book because it really helped me identify with her and understand her better. Last, appreciate the good days and make the most of them. :-)

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Juliana Walters April 28, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Please read Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup. It is the most moving amazing book I have ever read!

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Mo April 28, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I’m reading A Visit From The Goon Squad.

You have to read Left Neglect now by Lisa Genova…I love her writing style. I can’t say it is as good as Still Alice, but still on my top 50 books of all time.

I have been passing Still Alice around my University…all of my health profs have been touched by it. I can’t wait for Lisa’s new book that she is working on…it’s about an Autistic Child that holds together a family.

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Laura @ She Eats Well April 28, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Wow. Thanks for the recommendation. My family has been affected by Alzheimers so this will definitely be on my list.

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Kathryn April 28, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Left Neglected was an excellent book!

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Victoria April 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I read two REALLY great and powerful books this month. I just finished the Purple hibiscus and it’s lingering. A wonderful story about a family in Nigeria. And The Fault in Our Stars about two teenagers with cancer.

I also LOVED Still Alice. I worried about my memory for a few days afterwards!

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Kristilyn Robertson April 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm

This is a wonderful book! I read Left Neglected first and then this one and now I’m a huge fan of Lisa Genova. I can’t wait until her next book, Love Anthony, comes out!

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Amber April 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I just heard about bookyap.com and you type in your favorite books or authors and answer some questions (how to describe yourself -ce0, world travler, foodie, etc and if you like quick reads/classics/new releases etc and then it recommend books. It’s pretty cool.

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Mallory April 28, 2012 at 7:54 pm

This has been on my list for some time…the list is ever growing! I am glad to hear so many rave reviews. Looking forward to reading it.

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Kay April 28, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I read this book; my Dad died from early onset Alzheimer’s and Parksinson’s. Interesting and possibly informative yes; a must read ?. It’s so individual. I would wish nobody the pain, but everyone the compassion.

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Kay April 28, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Parkinson’s.

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Kay April 28, 2012 at 8:00 pm

And please don’t over dramatasize until you’ve been there.

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Liza April 29, 2012 at 11:56 am

My dad has Parkinson’s and early onset Dementia. He’s on 63. It’s truly the worst thing I could ever imagine for him. I am sorry you went through that with your father. Knowing other people are out there who dealt with this in their family makes it easier to deal with.

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Melissa @ squatsandsquash April 28, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Currently my nightstand is full of the Sookie Stackhouse series……..not nearly as powerful or meaningful, but good mindless leisure reads!!! If you need something easy and lighthearted to read after that book, them I recommend these. They’re the books that true blood is based on!

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TiffanyS April 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm

I’ve read this book twice now. My book club is discussing it tomorrow. I think it is such a well written look at something terrible. It definitely made me really look at life differently, and I just can’t imagine not remembering my kids.

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Jan April 28, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Thanks, I’m in need of a good book right now!

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Maddy April 29, 2012 at 5:33 am

Goodness, I can’t wait to read this. My dear grandmother had Alzheimer’s. It’s sort of comforting in a way to read about how others dealt with it.

I’m reading the Vampire Academy and Inheritance series because I’m 23 going on 13. :)

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dee April 29, 2012 at 6:18 am

I’ve been searching for a good book to read too. Thanks for the rec!

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Karen April 29, 2012 at 8:17 am

I bought this book a while ago, fully intending to read it. I read the first page and couldn’t go on. My mom has been struggling with early onset Alzheimer’s for about the last four or five years. It’s so hard watching her lose her functioning. Maybe once I come to better terms with her condition I will be able to read the book.

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Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy April 29, 2012 at 8:43 am

I need a new book to read right now, so I’m going to see if the library has this!

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Rebecca April 29, 2012 at 11:08 am

@ Kay,
I cannot imagine the pain the early death of your father must have caused you and I am very sorry for your loss. However, reading books like this is how compassion is formed in those who have not stood in your shoes. Accusing someone of over- dramatizing just because they have not stood where you have, accomplishes the opposite. We will all suffer pain in our lives and one of the most helpful things we can do ( for ourselves and others ) is to share our stories with each other.

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Liza April 29, 2012 at 11:58 am

I think Kay was just trying to say it’s hard to really understand it until you have experienced it. Just like I’m sure Kay wouldn’t say she knows what it’s like to lose a sibling at a young age because she read Little Women or saw Slumdog Millionaire.

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Becky April 29, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I loved that book. My friend’s mother is in the early stages of dementia, and this book created a deeply saddening, all-too-real look into the life of someone struggling with a brain she can no longer trust. I would recommend this for anyone who knows someone with Alzheimer’s.

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Rachel April 29, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I read that book last year, and really enjoyed it…or at least it made me really think about the disease and the strength it takes to deal with it. However, I was so mad at Alice for continuing to teach after she got diagnosed! I may be alone with how mad I was at a fictional character–at the point where I was yelling at the book. Overall, it was a great read–I love those books that you happen upon that end up being better than the books you seek out.

I recently read the book “A Good American” by Alex George. It was great! Definitely something up your alley (based on the other books you’ve posted about)—its a great historical fiction about immigrant life.

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Karen April 29, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I read this book a few years ago and absolutely loved it too. It’s still fresh in my memory as if it were nonfiction (my favorite genre.)

I just finished the memoir Wild last night by Cheryl Strayed…utterly fantastic!

Another memoir I recently read and adored was An Invisible Thread.

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patti April 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm

This book is so difficult to read when you have a loved one going through this horrible disease but it’s so necessary. A beautiful, difficult book. I highly recommend it.

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Christy April 30, 2012 at 8:33 am

I know you read “The Sisters” but I don’t know if you’ve read “Sister” by Rosamund Lupton. We just read it in my book club, and it’s one of the best books we’ve read! We unintentionally read a lot of mediocre books, so I love ones that really get my attention and keep me thinking about stuff after the book is done.

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Debbie May 1, 2012 at 8:48 am

Thank you for recommending this book. My dad was diagnosed with early onset a couple of years ago. I just started the book last night. Its interesting to here their perspective. I’m looking forward but a bit scared to finish the book to be honest.

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Debbie May 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm

I meant hear- (difficult commenting from a phone!)

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Lindsay M. May 1, 2012 at 2:17 pm

My boyfriend’s mother has early onset, and it is such a heartbreaking disease. I am participating in an inaugural Cleveland (ohio) event put on by the Alzheimer’s Association Blondes Vs. Brunettes., to help raise money awareness and provide help to caregivers of those with this disease. Thanks for doing such a great book review!

http://act.alz.org/site/TR/BvB/OH-ClevelandArea?px=6299864&pg=personal&fr_id=2182

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Jamie May 3, 2012 at 6:00 pm

I loved this book! It was so touching. I would like to read her other book also.

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Aggie May 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm

I felt the same exact way when I finished this one. And while I was reading I paid attention to so man things I was forgetting, and remembering. What an eye opener.

Seriously love how you came across this book.

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Becky June 10, 2012 at 11:23 am

I was just going through some of your posts from earlier in the year and I came across this one. I recognized the title right away. I have not read this particular one yet but just finished the next one she wrote called Left Neglected. Really good! I had a brain injury so it was neat to read about this. So many things can occur with a brain injury!! Lisa Genova’s next book is called Love Anthony. Its about two people that become connected because of a boy with autism. I think its great how she includes neurological occurrences in her stories.
I love your book reviews! Keep it up!

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