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Still Alice

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4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  121,636 ratings  ·  13,096 reviews
Alice Howland—Harvard professor, gifted researcher, and lecturer, wife, and mother of three grown children—sets out for a run and soon realizes she has no idea how to find her way home. She has taken the route for years, but nothing looks familiar. She is utterly lost. Medical consults reveal early-onset Alzheimer's.

Alice slowly but inevitably loses memory and connection w
...more
Kindle Edition, 234 pages
Published (first published January 21st 2009)
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Katarina Third person. Although it is written with Alice's perspective.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Annalisa
After you read this, you will never look at Alzheimer's the same again. Nor will you ever forget it. Oh the irony.

I'd always correlated Alzheimer's disease with old age and heard the best way to combat it was to exercise your brain. I do my fair share of reading, can solve a Sudoku puzzle faster than 98% of the population, and I shun mindless chick flicks for your more intelligent thrillers, but I'll never be as brilliant as Alice, a 50-year-old Harvard professor diagnosed with early-onset Alzhe
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Shannon
I give this book 5 stars not because its an amazing piece of literature but because of its impact on me. I can't stop thinking about it and when I was reading it I couldn't put it down. It is the story of Alice, a brilliant professor of cognitive psychology at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics who discovers she has early onset Alzheimer's disease. This book is beautiful and terrifying - ringing true in every word. To quote a reviewer, "with a master storyteller's easy eloquence, ...more
Petra X
Still Alice reads like a memoir of Alzheimer's disease written by a family member but is in fact the first novel by a neuroscientist who, apart from being a great deal younger, lives the successful life of a top academic, as does Alice.

The book is unputdownable. I read through the night; dawn came and went and still I couldn't put it down but I don't really know why. The writing was ok, a bit heavy-handed at times, the denoument was predetermined and inevitable but still the book was as gripping
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Emily May
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.

I read this book for three reasons. 1) I have never read a book about Alzheimer's disease, 2) For personal reasons, I have an interest in Alzheimer's, and 3) It has an incredibly high average rating on goodreads. That being said, I h
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Eve
No one understands the high stakes associated with making a book recommendation like a serious reader, especially when it's to a good friend, co-worker, or family member. Books that we love say a lot about our personalities, things that we're passionate about, and even shed light on our past experiences (good and bad). That's a lot to share with someone! Along with that pressure is the fear of introducing the wrong book to the wrong reader, or getting the timing wrong. What if they absolutely ha ...more
deLille
Jan 08, 2010 deLille rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People living with Alzheimer's
Recommended to deLille by: Theone Rutledge
Shelves: medical
The biggest problem with self-published work is the lack of an editor who tells you how to go from good to great. “Still Alice” has a wonderful premise: let’s tell the story of Alzheimer’s from the patient’s point of view, but somehow the book sounds like a professor telling you the Alzheimer’s story from a patient’s point of view, rather than having the patient tell her own story. (Using first person rather than third would have been more effective.) I felt that I was reading nothing more than ...more
Debbie
Fifty year old Alice Howland, a world-renowned expert in linguistics and a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Still Alice is the story of the unraveling of Alice's life as her disease progresses.

I started out not enjoying this book. The author's main character wasn't very likeable – she seemed too focused on how smart she was and how important and prestigious her job was, but I was quickly won over. Lisa Genova wrote from Alice's perspect
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Noeleen
It's difficult to write that I really enjoyed Still Alice considering the subject matter, which is not an easy one to read about. Lisa Genova has provided a really insightful and intuitive account into the world of the early onset of Alzheimer's Disease. This is a very well written book and rather than it being told in an overly dramatic way, which could have been the manner some authors may have approached the story, Genova related it in a most respectful, considerate and compassionate manner. ...more
Jason
I avoided this book for a long time, though I’m not exactly sure why. I think the premise (or at least what I understood to be the premise) reminded me of a book I read last year that was so horribly executed I felt very little inclination to get into something similar again. Who wants another lousy memory loss story, anyway? Well, put me in the “wrong again, asshole!” category because where the first book failed, converting an otherwise interesting idea into cheesy mindless schlock, this one de ...more
Lynne King
There are an estimated five hundred thousand people in the United States with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (as at 2007 when this book was first published). Early-onset is defined as Alzheimer’s under the age of sixty-five. Symptoms can develop in the thirties and forties.

Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry, I’ve always been interested in disease, genetics, clinical trials and finally being able to see, after so many years of research and many failures included, a medicinal product t
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Sharon
Alice Howland is a fifty years old and is a psychology professor at Harvard University. Her career keeps her busy with teaching, speaking, engagements and plenty of research. She is married to John and they have three adult children who also lead busy lives.

During Alice's busy schedules she starts to notice that she is having moments of forgetfulness. She puts this down to stress, lack of sleep or perhaps the start of menopause. As the weeks pass by things start to get worse so Alice makes an ap
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Barbara
I couldn't put this book down. And, I agree with other reviews of this book that it was heartbreaking. But, I saw something else in this story. Pain and heartache and change comes into everyone's life in some form and not everything that comes from that is bad. Genova does a good job of showing the devastation in Alzheimers but also the beauty in redefined relationships.
Averil
I have never, in all my reading years, sobbed quite so much or ached as deeply as I did while reading Still Alice. I am sobbed out, hollowed out.

My beloved Nanna was only diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in the last year or so and thus, the reading of this novel took on an even more personal meaning for me.

Lisa Genova's expert and exquisite depiction of Alzheimer's disease (in Alice Howland's case - early onset) is riveting, enthralling, and breathtakingly tragic. This book reads as a thrille
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Kimberly Whitney
Feb 24, 2009 Kimberly Whitney rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: yes
Recommended to Kimberly by: my mother
Having this diease affecting my husbands mother (frontal lobe dementia; onset at age 58) this book shed a lot of light on some things for me. I do not have a medical background, and I had not spent much time with my mother-in-law because we have not lived close to each other, this book helped me to understand better what exactly she is going through.
Some of the situations Alice experiences brought back some memories of things my mother-in-law had done in the past, signs that possibly we chalked
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Dem
Still Alice by Lisa Genova is a beautifully written, heartbreaking novel about the devastating affect Alzheimer's has on its victims and their families.

I wanted to read this novel for a long time and had nominated it at local book club but now after reading it I am glad it was never chosen as I really think this is a book you personally choose to read because of the difficult subject matter, and the fact that so many people have family members who suffer from Alzheimer's may find this a very dif
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Jenny
This book was great. If you have gone through Alzheimer's Disase before with a loved one, you will recognize and love this character. The twist is that she has early-onset AD, so she is only 50 years old, her children are grown and she has a successful career. This was a great book. The story was great, the characters seemed real and believable, the writing was clear and direct. In fact, it reminded me a lot of Kite Runner because there too I just loved the story and the characters, but the writ ...more
Judy
May 12, 2012 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone with even an inkling about Alzheimer's Disease
Recommended to Judy by: YLTO monthly read
Dear potential reader of Still Alice,

You are considering reading this book for one or more reasons. Perhaps, a friend recommended it. Maybe you are hoping to learn more about Alzheimer's Disease. It might be you just want to know why everyone is talking about it. I don't know your reason(s), but if you want to know the answers to the following questions, read it.

*Can genetic testing determine if you will get Alzheimer's?
*Does Early-onset Alzheimer's differ from Alzheimer's Disease?
*What is it li
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Sharon Ader
The subject matter of this book (Alzheimer's Disease) made it a very difficult book for me to read. The author, who is a Harvard trained neuroscientist chose to write this fictional book from Alice's point of view. Most books written about Alzheimer's is from the caregivers point of view. I believe that because of her background, and the book being recognized by the Alzheimer's Association, her description of what life is like for a victim of early-onset Alzheimer's is as close to factual as one ...more
Kathy Kilen
This book has changed me. Lisa Genova's writing style is wonderful- I feel more informed, aware, sensitive and moved by being engrossed in Alice's life and experience. As a nurse, I am a better caregiver from reading this book. As a nurse educator, I will use some brief passages from the book to help my students' understand and develop caring approaches to their clients and families. And sadly, as a niece, granddaughter and great-grandaughter of women who have suffered from Alzheimers Disease, ...more
Ruth
I wanted to like this book, I really did. I picked it because my mother suffered from dementia and I expected to relate to it.But I almost gave up on it in the first few chapters. Good writing is of paramount importance to me, and the writing here, while not godawful, has first book written all over it. Way too many "information drops," where the author tells us all about something or somebody in a chunk of info instead of just letting it unfold in naturally ocurring parts of the story. I'm glad ...more
Doug Bradshaw
I'm 57 years old and sometimes forget things, especially names of actors, sometimes I can't quite come up with the right word, like I couldn't think of the word "modest" the other day. And so, reading this book about dementia was very enjoyable and insightful, even though it paints a painful picture of the reality. I loved the first person perception of what's going on, for example, when she first gets lost near her home. It was so well written I almost wondered if the author had had many of the ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Alice is a Harvard professor, published author, and nationally respected expert in her field of study. Early-onset Alzheimer's disease nails her in mid-career and is especially devastating to her self-esteem because so much of her identity is wrapped up in her intellectual gifts and stellar memory. The story follows the gradual deterioration of Alice's mental capacity, and the attendant frustration and heartache for Alice and those who love her. There are also small triumphs along the way. Alice ...more
Olga
As highly recommended as this book is and as much as I wanted to read it, it took me a good while to muster the courage to actually do it. I was intimidated by the subject because I lived for a year with a family where the elderly grandmother had Alzheimer's, and even though there was much I didn't understand I witnessed first-hand how traumatic her condition was for the entire family. Finally I decided to just go for it, and when the novel was over I sat there for a while, heartbroken, not know ...more
LemonLinda
I reread this in 2011 for a local book club discussion and can honestly say my opinion and review as written in 2010 stands as follows:

Dr. Alice Howland is a highly respected Harvard professor in the Psychology Department specializing in psycholinguistics. She is also the much loved wife of Dr. John Howland, also a Harvard professor, and mother of three, Anna (a Harvard educated lawyer), Tom (a Harvard educated doctor) and Lydia (an actress who thus far has chosen not to attend college). Alice i
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Tania
This is an amazing journey into someone's life who is slowly losing her mind. Lisa Genova does a brilliant job of showing us exactly what it would be like descending into this hell that is Alzheimer's. This book also looks at how her family responds, and how difficult it is for them to see her degenerate like this. I learned so much about this disease, but it never felt like I was being fed facts, it formed a natural part of the story. I really felt for Alice and ended up crying quite a bit thro ...more
Lee Anne
Before I read a page of this, knowing it was about early-onset Alzheimer's, from the victim's point of view, I imagined it would be like Flowers for Algernon, like by the end of the book, there would be nothing, text-wise. Wrong.

Then, I started reading, and I have to say, it starts a little clunky: places are over-explained, there's a lot of awkward phrasing. So I figured it would read like what it was: a formerly self-published book by a neurological wonk who'd never written fiction before. Wr
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Dawn Critchfield
Still Alice by Lisa Genova is more frightening than a Stephen King novel. Genova is brilliant as she takes you into the mind of Alice, a fifty year old Harvard professor with early on-set Alzheimer's disease. The author hones in on the little day to day nuances of forgetfulness that make you question your own brain and its fortitude. My favorite part of the book is when Alice is referring to her Harvard colleagues and their reactions to her newly diagnosed disease. In my opinion, this very quote ...more
Beth
Loved this book - so moving and so well written.

Alice Howland is a Harvard professor with a great career, three beautiful healthy children and a husband who loves her. At about age 50 she notices that she has started forgetting things and initially thinks that her memory loss might be attributed to menopause.

It turns out that Alice has early-onset Alzheimer's Disease and her struggle to cope with it, and her family's struggle to accept the diagnosis and cope with the disease is so vivid and pain
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Malissa
Haunting
Compassionate
Disbelief
Self-pity
Acceptance
Heartbreaking
Emotionally draining yet fulfilling
I haven't had a good cry like that of what I experienced as I read this book. My heart truly ached for John and Alice, and their three children.
For Alice - because she realized the whole time what was happening; she realized the need to fight and yet she knew it was a losing battle. However, in some ways she was victorious over the disease.
For John - because his manhood, his very life, was threatened
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Carol
What a great heartfelt book. Takes you into the world of dementia and the frustrating lives of those with Alzheimer's, and at the same time, keeps you interested in the characters and plot unable to put the book down.
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978484
I'm a Harvard-trained Neuroscientist, a Meisner-trained actress, and an entirely untrained writer!

My first novel, STILL ALICE, winner of the 2008 Bronte Prize, nominated for 2010 Indies Choice Debut Book of the Year by the American Booksellers Association, and winner of the 2011 Bexley Book of the Year Award spent over 40 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. It has been translated into 25
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“She liked being reminded of butterflies. She remembered being six or seven and crying over the fates of the butterflies in her yard after learning that they lived for only a few days. Her mother had comforted her and told her not to be sad for the butterflies, that just because their lives were short didn't mean they were tragic. Watching them flying in the warm sun among the daisies in their garden, her mother had said to her, see, they have a beautiful life. Alice liked remembering that.” 134 likes
“You're so beautiful," said Alice. "I'm afraid of looking at you and not knowing who you are."
"I think that even if you don't know who I am someday, you'll still know that I love you."
"What if I see you, and I don't know that you're my daughter, and I don't know that you love me?"
"Then, I'll tell you that I do, and you'll believe me.”
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