This is a wonderful, deeply moving, finely portrayed look into the world of Alzheimer’s disease though the eyes of Alice Howland, mother of three, University Professor at Harvard and world renowned linguistics expert. This is her journey into the small, silent and final world of Alzheimer’s.
Life was full: she wanted for little. A successful career doing something she loved, a husband who was also a success in his field, driven to challenging boundaries within is scientific field, three children all settling into their lives as adults. Life was good.
She occasionally worried that her relationship with her husband was less than perfect but put that down to being together for many years. Sure things could be better, but overall were not bad.
She also had a great desire to become a grandmother, to enjoy the gift of a new life and had great hopes her daughter would not be long in becoming pregnant.
She appears to be becoming a little forgetful, forgetting words, loosing sentences. While out on her daily run about the neighbourhood she suddenly finds she has no idea of where she is, she is lost; somewhere deep down she understands, that while she is lost she is still in familiar territory.
Episodes of ‘forgetfulness’ keep occurring and becoming more frequent, where they eventually reach a point where she has to start considering something is very, very wrong. Her daughter has noticed this ‘forgetfulness’ has been occurring for longer than Alice realised but feels helpless to interfere.
Alice’s husband is in denial. Alice is finally diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 50 years.
As this insidious condition progresses Alice, along with her family have to learn to accept that her lie, and theirs, will no longer be the same again. Alice eventually has to accept that she is not getting better, is never going to get better and although she seeks help and support as sufferer there is little, basically nothing, there for her.
We a walk with her through the closing down of her life, her distress at having to give up a career she has loved and enjoyed for more than 25 years, her struggle to find some help and support for herself outside the family and her courageous address to the DASNI ,Dementia Advocacy and Support Network International, conference where she address the condition from a personal perspective, asking for people to empower, reach out and understand that the person suffering is still that person that is slowing changing.
Powerful and emotive, once read, this will be a story that is long remembered. It describes a disease that is relentless and final with compassion and deep understanding. This is a story which will touch the heart of all who read the book and see the movie.
Vivid, powerful and complelling Lisa Genoa blends fiction with fact to present a very real perspective of Alzheimers disease and the impact it has, not just on the sufferer, but on the families who love and care for them.
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster|