Oh, this was a rough book. It’s good, really really good, but difficult to read because you’re basically in the mind of a highly intelligent woman as she begins to slowly lose that mind. She’s aware of everything most of the time, and can’t do anything to stop it. It’s also scary to consider that this could happen not only to you, but to your loved ones as well. I spent a lot of time reading this and thinking, what if?
“Her ability to use language, that thing that most separates humans from animals, was leaving her, and she was feeling less and less human as it departed.”
It starts when Alice, in her early 50s and a professor at Harvard, starts losing things when she never did before. She struggles to remember a name. She forgets her spot in a lecture. She chalks it up to bad sleep, to menopause — then one day she forgets to board a plane for a conference, and realizes something is wrong. The neurologist diagnoses her with early-onset Alzheimer’s, and she knows things will only get worse.
Alice’s high level of intelligence and background as a researcher in psychology give her the ability to explain her feelings and thoughts well to the reader. These things also drastically highlight the changes she’s undergoing, as her ability to lecture, to follow a book, and then to simply communicate are stripped away. It’s a scary book, although parts feel uplifting — her family’s support, primarily. But that feeling of Alice losing herself — it gave me chills.