American Lit · Books that have film Adaptations · Companion Books for TV / Film

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

“Just because butterflies lives were short didn’t mean they were tragic. See, they have a beautiful life,”

I went in to reading this book without having seen the film. I also had preconceptions about Alzheimers disease and didn’t even know people in their forties and fifties could develop it.

Most of all, this book rejigged what I thought about Alzheimers and how cognition works. It made me realise that people are defined too readily by their intelligence, and when that malleable identity is lost, that becomes the most heartbreaking.

While Alice,the main protagonist, could be described as an unreliable narrator,the story deals well with this as she forgets all that was familiar to her, and this adds plenty of poignancy within the story without adding needless flourishes to the story itself. This was especially true given that Genova has the background in neuroscience, to give Alzheimers the cold hard realism it deserves.

I did cry at the end, and yet it was an enjoyable book to read. Sometimes people need reminding that those with dementia are people too. My only dislike concerned with the book is that some bits didn’t seem as concise as they could have been. This in no way detracts from the brilliance of the book itself. I really want to watch the film in the future.

MY RATING: ****.5 / *****

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