|Format:||Paperback, 320 pages|
|Published In: ||Australia, 01 February 2009|
Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. A Harvard professor, she has a successful husband and three grown children. When she begins to grow forgetful, she dismisses it for as long as she can, but when she gets lost in her own neighbourhood she knows that something has gone terribly wrong. She finds herself in the rapidly downward spiral of Alzheimer's Disease. She is fifty years old. Suddenly she has no classes to teach, no new research to conduct, no invited lectures to give. Ever again. Unable to work, read and, increasingly, take care of herself, Alice struggles to find meaning and purpose in her everyday life as her concept of self gradually slips away. But Alice is a remarkable woman, and her family, yoked by history and DNA and love, discover more about her and about each other, in their quest to keep the Alice they know for as long as possible. Losing her yesterdays, her short-term memory hanging on by a couple of frayed threads, she is living in the moment, living for each day. But she is still Alice.
Verdict: While the characters feel flat and the plot contrived, this first novel contains rich descriptions of the genetic and clinical aspects of Alzheimer's. Best suited for larger public libraries. Background: At 50, Alice Howland is enjoying a rewarding career teaching cognitive psychology at Harvard when she receives a life-altering diagnosis of early-onset Alzheime'¿s. First-time writer Genova is a neuroscientist with a Ph.D. from Harvard; her background becomes obvious via the details surrounding both the Harvard environs of her protagonist and the disease that creeps into her life. Those seeking a more emotional treatment of the implications of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's should see the 2006 movie Away from Her, with Julie Christie, directed by Sarah Polley.--Julie Kane, Sweet Briar Coll. Lib., VA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Neuroscientist and debut novelist Genova mines years of experience in her field to craft a realistic portrait of early onset Alzheimer's disease. Alice Howland has a career not unlike Genova's--she's an esteemed psychology professor at Harvard, living a comfortable life in Cambridge with her husband, John, arguing about the usual (making quality time together, their daughter's move to L.A.) when the first symptoms of Alzheimer's begin to emerge. First, Alice can't find her Blackberry, then she becomes hopelessly disoriented in her own town. Alice is shocked to be diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's (she had suspected a brain tumor or menopause), after which her life begins steadily to unravel. She loses track of rooms in her home, resigns from Harvard and eventually cannot recognize her own children. The brutal facts of Alzheimer's are heartbreaking, and it's impossible not to feel for Alice and her loved ones, but Genova's prose style is clumsy and her dialogue heavy-handed. This novel will appeal to those dealing with the disease and may prove helpful, but beyond the heartbreaking record of illness there's little here to remember. (Jan.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
|Publisher: ||Simon & Schuster Australia|