From the cover:
Alice Howard is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she's a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life - and her relationship with her family and the world forever.
Lisa Genova is a talented writer and her book Still Alice, which follows the story of Alice Howard who has early onset Alzheimer's disease, is both a difficult and compelling read. There was a lot of information thrown in that I had not known about Alzheimer's. Alice had assumed the mental confusion, disorientation and memory lapses were symptoms of menopause and not dementia.
The test Alice was given at the beginning of her visit with her doctor was:
Remember the address: John Black, 42 West Street, Brighton (he would ask her to recall this later)
How old are you?
What's today's date?
What season is it?
Where are we right now?
Later she was asked:
To draw a clock and show hands pointing to a specific time.
What day of the week is it?
When were you born?
Who is the president of the United States?
These are all simple questions, but Alice struggles with many of the requests, especially drawing a clock (she puts all the hour numbers on one side of the circle.)
I'm not sure I would have picked this book up if it hadn't been chosen as a book club read. I tend to read for enjoyment and the book brought out a lot of emotions (I would put it on the same level as Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook). But once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. It's a raw look, through Alice's eyes, into both her life that is disintegrating and how her family copes. I'm adding it to my list of favorites for this year.