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Still Alice
Lisa Genova

9781849838429 - ResizedStill Alice: a pretty appalling book as far as good literature goes. To say that it played on stereotypes is a bit of an understatement. The main relationship between Alice and husband John was sketchy at best, completely without relatable emotion, and the relationship with arty daughter versus sensible daughter was utterly without subtlety. The plotting was dodgy, and the ending smaltzy in the extreme.

Having said that, it did what it set out to do – namely to introduce people to the notions involved in the awful condition of Early Onset Alzheimers. Several of the sections where Alice is completely lost and bewildered, and the coping mechanisms she organised in order to hide them from other people, were very convincing, as was her struggle with the loss of language (being a linguistics lecturer making it all the worse.)

And it did kick off an awful lot of discussion, with most of us having personal knowledge of the condition in one form or another.

But all in all, I’d rather have read a set of concise case studies. I didn’t need the cotton wool wrapping of a predictable, loving-and-caring story line to soften the message, and actually found it somewhat exploitative – especially when we read at the end that her next book is about Huntingdons, and will no doubt be an almost exact replica of this book. Although the main protagonist will probably be a man – just for variet, and they’ll have sons instead of daughters.

Let’s hope she donates some of her millions to relevant charities.

Publication Information

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9781849838429

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