Sunday, November 10, 2013

Author, Lisa Genova

Sitting on my bookshelf (or more accurately, loaded onto my mini Kobo reader) are three amazing novels by author, Lisa Genova.

It started earlier this fall with a friend who insisted, "You must read Still Alice! "

And I did.  

Still Alice  literally takes you inside the head of a woman with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.  A powerful book, you feel Alice's pain as she and her family cope with this devastating illness.  

At this point, it's important to point out that Lisa Genova has a Ph.D in Neuroscience from Harvard University, has done brain research at Yale Medical School and has taught neuroanatomy at Harvard Medical School.  She knows her subject!

I visit a "secure" residence daily to provide company and help feed a family member who has stroke related dementia.  Needless to say, through Lisa Genova's writing, I've gained tremendous insight into how people with dementia perceive the world.

After finishing Still Alice, I began Love Anthony.  This story examines autism and is told through two voices - a grieving mother  rereading her journal as she comes to grips with the death of her young, autistic son, Anthony, and a writer who unknowingly uses  Anthony's voice and tells his story in her writing.  Sounds complicated?  It was.  There were too many coincidences and weak connections between the grieving mother and the writer, but if you can see beyond that and just live the story of Anthony's life as told through the writer and the mother's journal entries,  you will come away with a much greater and more compassionate view of autism.  

 Lisa's third book, Left Neglected is about a woman who has a traumatic brain injury - hemispatial or unilateral neglect.  Her brain ignores everything on her left side. In addition to not having control over her left arm and leg, her brain refuses to acknowledge everything she sees on the left as well.  As in her other two books, Lisa Genova uses her medical background to paint a clear and comprehensive picture for the reader. 

All three books are great reads and well worth consideration next time you head to the library!

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