Sunday, May 1, 2011

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

I first picked this book up when it was first released, I put it down and passed it on, everyone who read it loved it but until last week when I bought Genovas latest book I couldn't for the life of me remember why I hadn't picked it up again and then I remembered... Barbara our neighbour was going through her Alzheimer's pathway as I began to read this book and it was just too real.
Barbara is no longer with us, but wonderful memories of her remain and this book so vividly brought back to me all that Barbara had gone through, the wonderment, the bewilderment, the bafflement when others didn't understand, the wanderings, the phone calls in the middle of the night, the displacement, the who are you?
Barbara wasn't young like Alice but she had lead a very full and active life and gave unstintingly to her community, helped so many, never forgot a child's birthday, her very face radiated kindness and like a child she retreated into another world, so many of Alices experiences hit back at me and caused me to wonder about lifes fairness and justness and then I concluded that really what life hands you is what you get to deal with.
A rich, loving book, sparsely written in places, short chapters that take you from time and place to time and place, for me it was a book of gratitude, that such a very good writer had taken a topic we don`t like to talk about and thrust it centre forward.  Her characterisations were human and believable, warm and at times thoughtless, gritty, strong, baffled and fragile, we all know them, we just have to recognise them. A wonderful read, at times painful but healing never the less and a book full of hope.....I very much look forward to reading Left Neglected.

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