Monday, July 27, 2015

collaboreads || still alice

Mr. Thomas and Me
When I heard the theme for this month's #collaboreads prompt, I knew I wanted to read Still Alice by Lisa Genova.  I'd heard several really good things about this book and so it was the perfect time to read it (even though it's not on my original summer reading list).

Riveting
This story of a woman who has early onset Alzheimer's Disease was very eye opening and hit close to home.  I thought it described so well what a person who's been diagnosed with Alzheimer's might be feeling or experiencing as their brain slowly deteriorates.  The story takes place over the course of a couple of years and shows her experience with her family, work, husband, and friends as she slowly begins to forget.  I wanted to keep reading to find out what happens to Alice, and at the same time didn't want to know because it was just so sad.

I was prepared to cry a lot as I read this book, but I didn't at all.  Of course it was extremely sad, but I think it was built up more than it should have been.  I also read it on my Kindle and the story came to an end when my Kindle said 86% complete (the last 12% was discussion questions for a book club), so I was totally caught off guard.  Whomp whomp.

Elements
Well I definitely could not relate to the main character of this book because I am not slowly dying from Alzheimer's Disease.  I could, however, relate to her family.  They loved each other unconditionally, had their issues like all families do, but when it came time to make those tough choices and circumstances forced them to actively show their love and support to each other, they did.  This story beautifully demonstrates the ups and downs families go through together as they slowly watch a family member die.  I could relate to that because I've seen my own family respind in this way while we slowly lost my Gramma.

Associate
I have known a couple people who have had dementia and I remember one family friend passing away after a long battle with Alzheimer's.  Alice went through very similar experiences like I remember people going through.  I can't imagine the toll taking care of someone who is literally losing their mind would take on family, friends, and caretakers.  I do have a couple distant family members who've had dementia, but never anyone really close to me.  This story opened my eyes to heaviness of caring for someone with this disease.

It didn't remind me of any particular book or movie I've seen, but it reminded me of a lot of families I know that have gone through the process of losing a loved one.

Design
I read this book on my Kindle, so I wasn't drawn in by the cover.  I do, however, have a vivid picture of Julianne Moore (who plays the character of Alice Howland in the movie) stuck in my head and that's how I pictured the Alice the entire time I was reading.  Of course, she is gorgeous and that is exactly how I'd want to look if I was dying a slow death.

Stars
I gave this book 4 stars.  I really loved the character development, the detailed descriptions of Alice's ability (or lack of) to speak, listen, read, and write as her disease progressed.  I would definitely recommend this book and let people know that you'll only get to 86% if you're reading it on your Kindle!

26 comments:

Christine Everyday said...

I saw that the woman who starred in the movie (can't remember her name) won an Oscar but all I could think of was her as Jack Donaghy's lover on 30 Rock...does that make me a bad person? Haha.

Cassie Lee said...

OK so I read this book a while back and it made me a MESS. Yesterday, I finally saw the movie and it didn't measure up to the book but I was still a total mess haha

Melissa McMurchy said...

OK you have sold me ... I am definitely going to pick this one up to read :)

Ashley Brooks said...

I hate when Kindle does that to me! It's happened so many times that I try not to pay too much attention to my percentage anymore. I've debated on adding Still Alice to my TBR list for months now. Dying of Alzheimer's is honestly one of my very worst fears, so I'm not sure if I can emotionally and mentally handle this book. Although hearing that you didn't cry is good news---it makes me think that I might do okay with it!

Emily @ Ember Grey. said...

I haven't been able to read this... and most likely won't, because of my Grandpa but also someone else very close to me with early signs. Almost like- I want to be able to take each step as it comes instead of reading about what COULD happen in my own life. Just one of those things I guess.

Rachel Dawson said...

I keep seeing this and wondering if it's good/worth reading... I think now I'll have to pick it up! I've never experienced the pain that must come with losing someone slowly like that, but my heart hurts at the thought alone. Thanks for joining us for #collaboreads! :)

Andrea said...

I saw this movie earlier this year, but still think the book would be a great read. I thought the story was very strong on screen.

Amy @ Set Free said...

NO!! Haha...that's so funny. The book described Alice as having black curly hair, but I could only picture Julianne Moore with her gorgeous red, straight hair!

Amy @ Set Free said...

I was totally expecting to be a mess...so I was kinda bummed when I wasn't! :) I'm not sure if I'll watch the movie, usually I don't read and then watch (except for Harry Potter & the Hunger Games). I'm weird like that.

Amy @ Set Free said...

Yes, read it! I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

Amy @ Set Free said...

I think I was expecting to bawl, I had just built it up so much in my mind. So I was honestly kinda disappointed when I didn't! But I felt like it was SO informative of what it would be like to actually have Alzheimer's. Such a sad, sad way to end a life. I think you should definitely read it, it was well worth my time.

Amy @ Set Free said...

I totally agree! I wouldn't read it if I had someone really close to me with Alzheimer's. The people I've known, even the ones in my family, are not people I'm super close to, so it just helped me understand it all better. Which I really liked that part. But I totally understand why you wouldn't.

Amy @ Set Free said...

I think that's exactly why I could read it without completely losing it, I don;t have anyone close to me who's had Alzheimer's. But I feel like now that I've read it, if I did have someone close to me diagnosed, I would know how to better understand them and go through it with them. I definitely recommend it. It was a really good story.

Amy @ Set Free said...

I haven't seen the movie...I don't think I will! I'm weird about movies and books. :) But I definitely recommend it. It was so eye opening to me and it helped me to understand Alzheimer's Disease.

Emily @ Ember Grey. said...

Oh for sure. I really like that it's being talked about... it should be. People, whether they themselves are facing it or know someone who is shouldn't feel alone. I feel like movies like this bring awareness which is always a good thing! (And who doesn't love Julianne Moore?!)

Amy @ Set Free said...

It's funny because the book described Alice as having black, curly hair...but all I could picture was the gorgeous Julianne Moore. Even when she got old and didn't recognize herself in the mirror, I still pictured her! And yes...I'm so glad it's bringing awareness. That's the most important part.

Mia Sutton said...

I really love your review and your honesty about this book. I'm sure I'll pick it up at some point when I'm craving a super serious read. :) Thanks for sharing!

Amy @ Set Free said...

Thanks for stopping by! Yes, I think it's a great book to read, very eye opening, but quick to read, for sure. :)

Sarah Potts said...

I read this book and loved it! I also had the picture of Julianne Moore in my head, since my copy had her on the front cover. Which I definitely think affected how I viewed the character. But overall I really enjoyed it and thought the move was decent as well.

Leah Van Ert said...

I read this book back in junior high (I had a pretty mature reading list, apparently) and loved it. I found myself crying so much throughout though... (1) I'm overly empathetic, so her struggle really got to me and (2) my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's when I was a toddler and at the time I was reading it, she was swiftly declining. It was very timely! I think I want to reread it now as an adult to see what I think. I'll probably still cry a lot. ;)

Amy @ Set Free said...

It's funny...I was so caught up in picturing Julianne Moore, that when they described Alice with black, curly hair, I was shocked! Anytime they referred to her hair, I skipped over it so I could continue to picture JM's lovely red locks. :) I really enjoyed it as well, so eye opening.

Amy @ Set Free said...

Um, yes, SO MATURE! And I don't know if I could read this book if I had someone really close to me diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Maybe since you were at such a young age it helped you understand better and begin to grieve?? I wish I had gone into it with lower expectations because I think I would have been more emotional.

Amber Thomas said...

I couldn't with this book. I think dementia might be too close to home (in so many ways). I think I was busy losing my dad and mourning him when the book gained notoriety. I picked it up thinking I'd find something beautifully wonderful in there, but just ended up despising the way that it was written. I wanted more emotion, more rawness, and felt like I was just getting a watered down feeling of what it's like to be losing yourself. I felt like my dad didn't know the way Alice did as he lost himself, but I know there was a deep hurt inside him over the future we faced...


I'd say I might try it again, but I won't. It's just too close but not close enough. I do want to see the movie though... I love Julianne Moore. :)

Amy @ Set Free said...

Oh I so don't blame you. If I had someone close to me suffering or who'd passed from Alzheimer's, I wouldn't have read it. I was definitely expecting more emotion, and I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who's disappointed with that. I would say don't try it again. It's too close to home...I'm so sorry about your Dad. :(

Leah Van Ert said...

I think it was definitely part of the coping process. Our family was very involved with my grandma during her decline, so we experienced it firsthand. It was nice knowing that we weren't the only ones, ya know?

Amy @ Set Free said...

Oh I totally get that. When my grandma passed away last year, I totally connected with a couple other bloggers who'd lost grandparents right around the same time, and now we're friends because of it. I love that when I lost someone so significant, I gained new friends through it. Definitely helps the grieving and coping process.