“Walking with her dad is stressful. The whole reason she drives the car to pick him up from physical therapy is to avoid walking with him. But who can resist this day?
She wants to be close enough to catch him if he starts to fall, but not close enough to catch a flying fist in the face…he’s frightening to watch. Every joint—his ankles, knees, hips, elbows, wrists, fingers, shoulders—is overly involved in the task. Each step is exaggerated, jerky, wild, almost violent. She finds herself holding her breath …” –Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova
Last spring, when I traveled to Boston to attend the Muse writer’s conference, I sat in on a class taught by a panel by four authors, on research for fiction. One of the panelists, Lisa Genova, talked about the research she’d done for her first book, Still Alice, by interviewing hundreds of early-onset Alzheimer’s patients. After the class, I bought Still Alice at the conference bookstore. Once I read it, I knew I’d found one of my favorite contemporary authors.
A few months ago, when Genova’s latest book, Inside the O’Briens appeared on bookstore shelves, I bought it and saved it for a time when I could read the compelling story uninterrupted. I’m glad I did, because it was impossible to put down.
In Inside the O’Briens, Genova writes about another genetic disorder, Huntington’s disease. In the same manner of Still Alice, Inside the O’Briens introduces us to the affected person before he understands what is happening, as well as to his family. This is the part of Genova’s writing that I enjoy the most: the characters and their close-knit families…
To read more, please join me at Great New Books — it’s my week within the 10 on our team to recommend a book. We’d love to hear about what you think of Lisa Genova’s Inside the O’Briens, Still Alice (the book), or Still Alice (the movie, for which Julianne Moore won an Oscar this year). I hope you’ll stop by and leave your thoughts there. Thanks!