Still Alice Book Summary - Still Alice Book explained in key points

Still Alice summary

Lisa Genova

Brief summary

Still Alice by Lisa Genova is a poignant novel that follows the story of Alice Howland, a linguistics professor diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. It offers a powerful and intimate portrayal of the disease and its impact on relationships.

Give Feedback
Table of Contents

    Still Alice
    Summary of key ideas

    Understanding the Unfathomable: Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease

    In Still Alice by Lisa Genova, we are introduced to Alice Howland, a renowned linguistics professor at Harvard University. The story begins with Alice's 50th birthday, a milestone that marks the beginning of her descent into early-onset Alzheimer's disease. As a highly intelligent and independent woman, Alice initially dismisses her memory lapses as signs of aging, but as her symptoms worsen, she seeks medical help and receives the devastating diagnosis.

    Genova takes us on a heart-wrenching journey as Alice grapples with the reality of her diagnosis. She experiences the gradual loss of her cognitive abilities, memory, and independence, all of which she had taken for granted. The author masterfully captures the emotional turmoil and confusion that Alice faces as she tries to make sense of her rapidly deteriorating mental state.

    The Impact on Family and Career

    As the disease progresses, Alice's relationships with her family members undergo significant changes. Her husband, John, initially supportive, struggles to cope with the situation and distances himself from her. Their three children, Lydia, Anna, and Tom, each react differently to their mother's illness, adding another layer of complexity to the family dynamics.

    Furthermore, Alice's professional life, which was once the center of her identity, begins to crumble. She is forced to retire from her beloved career at Harvard, and her once sharp intellect is replaced by confusion and disorientation. The novel poignantly illustrates the devastating impact of Alzheimer's on both the individual and their loved ones.

    Living in the Moment

    Despite the overwhelming challenges, Alice refuses to succumb to despair. She strives to live in the present, cherishing the moments of clarity and connection with her family. She creates a video diary to document her thoughts and experiences, a poignant attempt to preserve her identity in the face of her diminishing memory.

    Through Alice's journey, Genova highlights the importance of living in the moment and finding joy in the midst of adversity. Alice's resilience and determination to make the most of her remaining time serve as a powerful reminder of the human spirit's capacity for strength and grace in the face of unimaginable hardship.

    The Unpredictable Nature of Alzheimer's

    One of the most striking aspects of Still Alice is its unflinching portrayal of Alzheimer's disease. Genova, who holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience, provides a detailed and realistic depiction of the illness, emphasizing its unpredictable nature and the unique challenges faced by those with early-onset Alzheimer's.

    The novel concludes with Alice's mental state deteriorating to the point where she no longer recognizes her loved ones or even herself. In a poignant moment, she leaves a note for her future self, reminding her of the love and support she has received, even if she can no longer remember it.

    Final Thoughts

    In conclusion, Still Alice is a deeply moving exploration of Alzheimer's disease and its profound impact on an individual's identity, relationships, and sense of self. Through Alice's story, we gain a greater understanding of the disease's devastating effects and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of such adversity. The novel serves as a powerful call to appreciate the present moment and the people we hold dear, as we never know what the future may hold.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Still Alice about?

    Still Alice (2007) by Lisa Genova is a poignant novel that delves into the life of Alice Howland, a renowned linguistics professor who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. The book takes us on a heart-wrenching journey as Alice grapples with the gradual loss of her memories, independence, and identity, while also exploring the impact of her illness on her family.

    Still Alice Review

    Still Alice (2007) by Lisa Genova is a heart-wrenching yet thought-provoking story about a professor living with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • It presents a raw and honest portrayal of Alzheimer's, providing deep insight into the challenges faced by both the individual and their loved ones.
    • By delving into the protagonist's emotional journey, it fosters empathy and understanding, leaving a lasting impact on readers.
    • The book addresses the difficult question of identity and self-worth amidst the loss of memories, making it a profoundly moving and enlightening read.

    Who should read Still Alice?

    • Individuals who want to gain a deeper understanding of Alzheimer's disease
    • Family members and caregivers of those living with dementia
    • Healthcare professionals working with patients with cognitive impairments

    About the Author

    Lisa Genova is a neuroscientist and author who has made significant contributions to the field of neuroscience. She holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard University and has worked as a researcher in the area of Huntington's disease. Genova's writing is known for its ability to blend scientific knowledge with compelling storytelling. Her most notable work, Still Alice, explores the devastating effects of early-onset Alzheimer's disease and has been adapted into a successful film. Genova's other books include Left Neglected, Love Anthony, and Inside the O'Briens.

    Categories with Still Alice

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    30 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Still Alice FAQs 

    What is the main message of Still Alice?

    The main message of Still Alice is the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

    How long does it take to read Still Alice?

    The reading time for Still Alice varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just a few minutes.

    Is Still Alice a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Still Alice is a deeply touching and thought-provoking read that offers insight into the experience of Alzheimer's disease. Truly worth reading.

    Who is the author of Still Alice?

    The author of Still Alice is Lisa Genova.

    What to read after Still Alice?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Still Alice, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
    • Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
    • Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes
    • The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
    • Savor by Thich Nhat Hanh and Lilian Cheung
    • Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman
    • Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price
    • Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss
    • Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink
    • The Twenty-four Hour Mind by Rosalind D. Cartwright