It's been a long time since I blitzed through a novel as fast as I have read Still Alice. It is, (insert pause, as I search for the right string of words here, ironically enough) a powerful read. It is also not an easy read, but it is also an accessible read, if that makes any sense.
Now that I just finished the book, and it is 1am - what do I think? Reflectively, Alzheimers is a scary, progressive, degenerative disease. Alice ruminates that being branded with the big "A" is worse than being diagnosed with cancer, because with cancer you have a chance of winning the battle. There is something obscene about Alzheimers, how it robs you of yourself, your memories, your being. Still Alice is powerful because it is written from the perspective of someone who is diagnosed young, whom is still at the top of their game, so to speak. I think Alice's children have a nice character arc to them, but I am a bit lukewarm about her husband John. I think that is how it is meant to be, the ebb and flow of relationships as a loved one slips away and life still continues on.
This almost reminds me of reading a book by Mitch Albom. Not a book that you will place high on the big L literary shelf, but one that has meaning, and evokes an emotional response from the reader. Contemplating a degenerative disease is down right sobering. Scary. A potential that is hard to take beyond the initial stages of acknowledging it's existence and how it can unfold over time. Diagnoses like Alzeimers rob one of their innocence, and all the lives that this person touches.
I feel melancholic and reflective having read this book, I think we will have an interesting discussion at book club about it. I feel a little sad, and I think of the women I know whom have had and have Alzheimers. I feel for them, for their families. I think of my Uncle Roy (my grandfather's brother) and my Auntie Kittie, whom passed away a few years back from complications arising from Alzeimers. My Uncle Roy used to visit her all the time in the hospital, and he told me that even though she wasn't his wife anymore, she was his girlfriend now, and he found comfort in that. What do you say? Are there words? It is just so important to reach out.
This book affirms my position on trying to live without regrets, living life to the fullest, and speaking truths, a little carpe diem thrown in for good measure. You can never afford kids, you can never afford to travel, you can never afford to take time off and do the things that are important. Then again, you can't afford not to do these things. To weigh matters, and then go back to the first comment, and live without regrets by making your peace with your decisions.
This is a good book, a touching book, one that is hard to ignore. It is a fast read, a poignant one, and an important one.