Monday, March 28, 2011

Still Alice

Join us for a lively, insightful discussion of the book Still Alice by Lisa Genova on Wednesday, March 30th in the basement of the Pleasant Grove Library.

Eloise Fugal will lead the discussion and there will be refreshments.

Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer's disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what's it's like to literally lose your mind.

This award-winning book is a favorite of book clubs all over the country.

Lisa Genova

Lisa Genova graduated valedictorian from Bates College with a degree in Biopsychology and has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University. She has done research on the molecular etiology of depression, Parkinson's Disease, drug addiction, and memory loss following stroke. Her second novel, LEFT NEGLECTED, also a New York Times bestseller, is about a woman with a traumatic brain injury. She is currently writing her third novel, LOVE ANTHONY, about a boy with autism. Lisa lives with her husband and three children on Cape Cod.

What inspired Lisa to write the book:
Her grandmother suffered from Alzheimer's. She started doing research on it, but could never answer the question, "What does it feel like to have this?" because her grandmother was already too far gone.

Lisa's research:
Lisa did a ton of research. Her "Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard was like a golden, all-access pass" with neurologists, genetic counselors, researchers and about a dozen people who were suffering from Alzheimer's. They e-mailed almost daily while she was writing the book and made sure her writing rang true.

Lisa's previous writing experience:
The only writing Lisa had done previously was scientific research papers, with the exception of a Short Story class her freshman year in college. However, she was training as a Meisner actress at the same time she was writing the book and felt that the skills she learned in acting class translated well in the writing process.

The writing/publishing experience:
Lisa wrote Still Alice at Starbucks while her daughter was in school. She was too distracted by things at home--phone calls, laundry, food in the fridge. She wasn't successful initially with finding an agent or a publisher so she self-published, selling the book out of the trunk of her car. It paid off. Simon & Schuster took it on and it became a best-seller and has been translated into over 20 languages.

Lisa Genova talks about Still Alice:

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