Many months ago our family's cousins from Canada came to the UK to visit; amongst a wide range of topics we discussed, I mentioned both my love of reading and Science- this fuelled the recommendation of this book. I would initially steer away from authors who write about Science subjects as I'm often left disappointed by a lack of depth however Lisa Genova happens to have a PhD in neuroscience from Harvard university; useful for someone who is writing a book about Alzheimers disease.
This book is full of detail and depth of knowledge, and is almost exactly what I look for in a science related novel; and this is purely down to the authors background and the background research she must have undertaken to write the book. The story follows the life of Alice, a university professor at Harvard university, a distinguished scientist and researcher as well as an outstanding teacher- however we follow her story as she is diagnosed with early on set alzheimers disease when she is just in her fifties. What I like about this book is it is incredibly realistic- the struggles Alice and her family face happen to hundreds if not thousands of people every day and the book highlights these issues perfectly.
For example, the author touches of genetic inheritance and genetic screening/testing and the impact this can have on children, grandchildren and future generations.I have a personal interest in genetic testing and found the authors interpretation and handling of the subject wonderful- full of insight and tactfully written but still maintaining the hardship of making, and living, with these decisions. In addition we have the real life impact on the husbands/wives or partners of people with alzheimers; completely without sugar coating or skimming around the surface. The reader sees an honest look at a sufferers life (and the lives of the family of the sufferer).
The style of writing for this book is somewhat clinical, well thought out and scientific- the perfect narrative voice for Alice; however the writing style does develop through the book as what is most important to Alice changes. The inner thoughts of Alice, particularly when the disease is really progressing into later stages, are beautiful and though provoking. For anyone, like me, who has had a friend or relative who has or is suffering with alzheimers this is a fresh, heartbreaking and interesting perspective of the disease.
My only criticism of the book is that I feel that this front cover would allow this book just to blend into the background of the other 'real life' novels that are swamping the shelves at the moment- which is a shame because this book is right ahead of the crowd. Without a doubt this is one of the best science based novels I have ever read and I have every intention of picking up more of Lisa Genova's books. Watch this space.