I’ve been meaning to write/post this review for a long time. As mentioned in my monthly wrap up, I wanted to dedicate a full post to this book as it was then (and still is now) my favorite book that I’ve read all year. It’s such a beautiful, well-written, heartbreaking story.
As many of you may be aware (whether from reading the book or hearing about/seeing the movie starring Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin), this story is about Alice, a brilliant Harvard University linguistics professor, who, after a series of strange incidences is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. The story is told from Alice’s point of view and Lisa Genova does an amazing job of putting us in Alice’s shoes. Her writing is brilliant and one can’t help but feel the anger, resentment, fear, and despair that Alice feels. To see and almost experience how AD affects her life is heart-wrenching. I assure you that I cried while reading this book (and will likely never watch the movie because of how emotional I am — unless I really need a good cry at some point!). But not only do we see how this affects her but also her husband and their children.
One thing I learned from this book is that there is a genetic test that children can take to determine if they have the gene for AD. So this could easily be a topic for deep discussion: would you want to know if you have the gene? If you do have it, how would you act/live your life knowing that eventually you’d develop AD? This is a decision Alice’s children face. Also, there is a procedure that can be done to ensure the gene is removed in any future offspring (I don’t remember the specifics of this, however).
I highly recommend that everyone reads this book. It’s so moving and really speaks to the reader. I also found it informative without being dry. Truly a wonderful story to bring awareness to the seriousness of this disease that affects millions of people.
The biotech company I work for is working on a drug for AD. While there are still a few years before it would be approved by the FDA and on the market for patients, there have been some positive, promising preliminary results. Do you know that there are currently over 5 million Americans with AD and that figure is expected to almost triple to over 13 million by 2050 (that is, if no new medications come into the market)? Yes, you read that right: Americans. That’s not even counting the rest of the world! And those figures are mainly regarding patients aged 65 and older; there are currently around 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 who have been diagnosed with early onset AD. The AD population has such an urgent need for a medication and I am proud to work for a company that is working tirelessly to meet that need. Here’s a link to the Alzheimer’s Association website to learn more about this horrifying disease.