Monday, February 04, 2013

Book 3 of 2013 -- Still Alice

This one came my way at Christmas time.  It is a novel about a Harvard professor who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers.  We follow her from just before her diagnosis to a time where she is no longer really "there".  And it is really a very short journey.

It is suggested that with the increase in our life-span (and the Baby Boomer bulge heading into their senior years) helping families and individuals touched by dementia is going to be one of the key issues churches will need to develop knowledge about in the next generation.  This may be true, certainly it makes statistical sense, and it may not--only time will tell.  But novels such as this are arguably a very good part of how we can gain that knowledge.

Yes there will be a place for "how to" books and articles around caring for families and individuals dealing with dementia.  Yes there will be discussions about how to gently move the church elder out of office when she/he can no longer function.  But a novel like this allows us into the mind and heart of the patient, we see the struggle of a very intelligent, very accomplished woman who is literally watching as her brain fails her.

I encourage folk to read this book.  It is well written.  It grips you.  It is a quick read.  But more importantly, it teaches us.

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