by Kubra Mubashshir - Guest Reviewer
'Still Alice' is a moving story of a woman with early onset Alzheimer's disease, now a major Academy Award-winning film starring Julianne Moore and Kristen Stewart.
Human beings take many things for granted; Life, family, comforts and even memories. We are what our memories, thoughts and experiences make us. But what if we lose our memory and can’t summon our thoughts? Will we be the same people if we have no memory of the past, no dexterity of thought and no recognition of the people/places that surround us? This question is debilitating as much as it is disturbing.
I started reading ‘Still Alice’ as part of my book club read. Of late we have been able to select books that have satisfied the reader in us.
Anyways the start looked promising and casually normal. A Harvard professor who has a successful teaching career spends her time lecturing students, attending and speaking at seminars/conferences still managing to make time to spend with her family.
Slowly I became engrossed in her character and was able to feel her anxiety when the beginnings of her illness began to take hold. Her denial to accost the dilemma at hand felt real. From being a brilliant professor of cognitive psychology at Harvard and a renowned expert in linguistics, the illness turned her in to someone who couldn’t remember words, identify faces or places or keep track of a conversation.
I could feel her frustration at forgetting words/people/faces and for being shut out because not everyone would like to be around a forgetful lady they might think is annoyingly repetitive and capricious.
Without her memory, thoughts and her job she is left with more time and less prospects. This is one book you have to read more so for its realistic portrayal of the life of a patient. The only thing that annoyed me was the occasional long descriptions of Boston along with the cold and drawn out medical explanations (made it feel like a medical journal). However these are minor flaws compared to the plot.
I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Kubra Mubashshir runs the Abu Dhabi-based bookclub 'Ravenous Readers'. You can find them on Facebook.