World Book Night this year took on a new meaning for me. I had participated last year and enjoyed sharing books with random light readers. I was looking forward to doing the same thing again this year . . . but then I read the list of books. Among the choices were some of my favorites, but the book that spoke to me was Still Alice by Lisa Genova.
I first read this book when a good friend of mine was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 55. Reading the book gave me a small taste of what she was going through – the confusion, the fear and the sadness. It also helped me better understand how I could help her along the journey. Lisa Genova tells the story with so much compassion that I was swept up and stayed up most of the night finishing the book. In the ensuing years I have bought many copies for other friends and recommended it to many more.
So, when I saw Still Alice on the list, I knew what I wanted to do with my copies. I packed them up and visited the local residence facilities that care for Alzheimer’s patients. At each stop I requested that the books be shared with the staff and the families of the patients, and then passed along. This request was met with great enthusiasm, with one director even asking where she could purchase copies for her entire staff! (I naturally directed her to the local indie bookstores in town.)
I hope that, for years to come, these books will continue to educate people on the view from inside the Alzheimer’s patient. If you are reading this and have not read Still Alice, I encourage you to pick up a copy. You will never look at Alzheimer’s the same again.
by Heather’s friend