Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

If you are fascinated by the workings of the mind, no not the big picture and enlightenment kind of things but how mind functions and how much we take it for granted then this a book for you.

The book ‘Still Alice’ written by Lisa Genova is about a Harvard professor with an early onset of Alzheimer’s and her struggle with it. I could completely relate to the main character, like her I also think that its work that I do that defines me. So, it was kind of very personal for me and often like with everybody else I do forget things like ‘they never existed’ not like ‘I vaguely remember it but details are gone’. It was scary, how her symptoms started showing and not just how other people reacted to it but when the lost moment is passed how she thought about it and analyzed it. It was an amazing insight about how dementia can affect a person and despite her effort to make sure she doesn’t become a burden on anyone; she forgot her own rescue plan.

As I said I found it very close to my heart and the emotion that the character conveyed seemed very true, I guess as close you can get without actually getting the disease. Her struggle with not remembering her youngest daughter and how she grew to understand the body language when the word processing in her mind failed her; Alice was so courageous and she never gave up. And the perspective of a professor’s struggle with the loss of her own identity and everything she stands for was priceless. And the best part, despite being a story about an Alzheimer’s patient, the book is not sad, though it will tug at your heart strings a few times.

Worth Reading :)

On a personal note, I attended this design workshop that had a module about designing for people with disability and one of the presenters was a guy on a wheel chair. We took a little stroll with him to see the perils that a person on wheel chair faces because of our so called standards, designed to keep safety in mind. It was drizzling that late afternoon and that made it all the tougher for this particular individual on the manual wheel chair.

All throughout the brilliant presentation I kept thinking besides the design topic about the remarkable personality and the fact that there is so much more to him than the ‘disabled’ label that we often assign. Now since I got to see a bit of his mind and thoughts, I think he is very handsome and a very passionate person. I like people who have a passion for something…

Just a little reminder about not judging and labeling people based on that first glance, there is so much depth that lies below the calm surface.

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