American Horror Stories : Part II

Yesterday I began my week-long theme about books that terrify me.

This first week of October is dedicated to books by Lisa Genova. On Friday, (since I will have covered all of Genova’s books) I will post a book by another author who writes in a similar vein to Genova.

I’m not featuring the books in any particular order, but I am featuring the one that I liked/scared me the most on Thursday. Yesterday’s post featured Left Neglected and Love Anthony.

Leading off today is:

Inside the O’Briens

This story follows an Irish Catholic family living in Massachusetts. The father, Joe, is a policeman and is diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease.

HD is a neurodegenerative disease. It has no treatment and no cure.

Joe begins having random outbursts, flares of temper, and random movements. He associates these to getting older and the stress of his job, but they are actually symptoms of HD.

Joe and his wife have four children. Two boys and two girls. Because Joe has HD, there is a 50% chance that each of his children will develop this disease. As if having the disease isn’t terrible enough, Joe struggles greatly knowing he is the source of where his children would acquire this disease from.

He struggles greatly with telling them. Upon knowing, each child has the choice to be tested to find out whether they carry this gene. Do you think you would want to find out if you has the choice? I feel like there are reasons for both.

Although this isn’t her most recent book, it’s the one I read most recently.

Genova writes with insight and great compassion. In the afterward section she talks about the individuals and families she worked along side with that were dealing with HD. Their lives and deaths allowed her writing and subsequently our reading to be only that much more of an authentic experience.

Next up:

Still Alice

Still Alice is one of Genova’s most popular books and was my introduction to her. She self-published this book in 2007 and after gaining such popularity it was picked up by Simon and Schuster.

This is the story of Harvard Professor Alice Howland, who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

This story hit very close to home at a time when I needed to read it most. I do plan to write and share more with you all about this at a later date.

This is the the only book that has brought tears to my eyes in as long as I can remember. I highly recommend this book. If you have dealt at all with Alzheimer’s up close and personal, the very last part of this book cuts like a knife.

I could say a million cliched things about the horrors of Alzheimer’s, but the simple fact is that it robs people of ultimately everything they ever held dear. The only reprise (if it can be called that) is that the surrounding loved ones still know the soul who is tangled beneath this disease.

There is nothing to say except to love and hug harder those who you have been blessed to spend this life with.

Until tomorrow.

I had multiple favorite quotes from Still Alice:

“You’re so beautiful,” said Alice. “I’m afraid of looking at you and not knowing who you are.”
“I think that even if you don’t know who I am someday, you’ll still know that I love you.”
“What if I see you, and I don’t know that you’re my daughter, and I don’t know that you love me?”
“Then, I’ll tell you that I do, and you’ll believe me. –Still Alice

“And I have no control over which yesterdays I keep and which ones get deleted. This disease will not be bargained with.” –Still Alice

“My yesterdays are disappearing, and my tomorrows are uncertain, so what do I live for? I live for each day. I live in the moment. Some tomorrow soon, I’ll forget that I stood before you and gave this speech. But just because I’ll forget it some tomorrow doesn’t mean that I didn’t live every second of it today. I will forget today, but that doesn’t mean that today didn’t matter.” – Still Alice

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