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Book Review: Still Alice

I’m a big believer that self-help books are a fantastic way of changing who you are

into who you want to be. That’s one of the reasons I’ve devoted my writing career to

the self-help genre. But I also believe that fiction books can play a fundamental role

in helping us better understand ourselves, the world and the people around us.

That’s what compelled me to write my novel, Financing Your Life.

I recently read Still Alice, the story of a successful professor diagnosed with early-

onset Alzheimer’s disease, and found it to be a great example of a fictional novel that

provided insight I might not have otherwise had.

Synopsis

Here’s the book description from Amazon:

Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a

cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics

with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly

disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life—and her relationship

with her family and the world—forever.

At once beautiful and terrifying, Still Alice is a moving and vivid depiction of life with

early-onset Alzheimer’s disease that is as compelling as A Beautiful Mind and as

unforgettable as Ordinary People.

What I Learned Reading Still Alice

As you may know if you’ve read my book, Alzheimer’s Legacy Guide, I am passionate

about fighting Alzheimer’s and helping families better deal with the financial

repercussions of the disease. But it wasn’t until reading Still Alice that I finally

gained insight into what it’s like to be the person with Alzheimer’s rather than one

of the friends and family. The frustration of being unable to access knowledge and

information you know you have is clearly and frustratingly conveyed in this book,

giving the reader even more compassion for those suffering with this disease. You

can feel the confusion, frustration, paranoia, dread and disappointment in a way

that’s as helpful as it is uncomfortable.

But this book did more for me than help me understand what it’s like to suffer from

Alzheimer’s. It also showed me how to be a more compassionate and helpful friend

and loved one to those who are suffering. In the book, some of Alice’s family

members are supportive and understanding while others tend to get frustrated with

her slipping memory, making remarks such as, “I already told you that” to questions

she repeats. This is especially frustrating to experience as a reader because you

already know that, to Alice, those prior conversations never even happened—so

there’s little point in bringing up the fact that the topics have already been

discussed.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand how to

relate to a friend or loved one who’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

At times sad, frustrating, encouraging and enlightening, it’s a novel that can change

your perspective and help you relate better.

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