Episode 52: Still Alice, Lisa Genova

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STILL ALICE Synopsis:
Still Alice is a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman's sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer's disease, written by first-time author Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph. D in neuroscience from Harvard University. Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer's disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what's it's like to literally lose your mind...

“The book is about a young woman’s descent into dementia.  And of course, we see her struggle against this horrifying and inevitable descent.  But interestingly, as her cognitive capabilities diminish, we also get to see her grow.  As her symptoms worsen, Alice loses her cerebral life at Harvard, where she’d placed her worth and identity, where she’d been valued and respected.  Without it, she embarks on a desperate search for answers to questions like ‘Who am I now?’ and ‘How do I matter?' and is forced to search for meaning and intimacy beyond career success in her relationships with her husband and children, relationships previously neglected or on autopilot.  But has too much time and distance passed in those relationships, and has Alice already lost too much of herself to reconnect before she dies?” Lisa Genova

Lisa's Bio:
Lisa Genova graduated valedictorian from Bates College with a degree in Biopsychology and has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University.  She has done research on the molecular etiology of depression, Parkinson's Disease, drug addiction, and memory loss following stroke.  She is a proud and active member of the Dementia Advocacy & Support Network International and DementiaUSA and is an online columnist for the National Alzheimer’s Association.  She spends a considerable amount of time acting on stage in Boston and in local independent films.  She is currently working on her next novel, LEFT NEGLECTED.

Books Lisa Mentioned:

  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks
  • Thirty-Six Hour Day, C. Rayner
  • The Lace Reader, Brunonia Barry
  • Don't Leave Me this Way, Julia Fox Garrison

**Thanks, as always, to Natalie Brown for her song You Gotta Believe from the Podsafe Music Network.

For links to cited books and websites, visit Words To Mouth website

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