They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Pretty optimistic and encouraging proverb, right? But what if life gives you lemons but you forget how to make lemonade, or worse fail to spell or even identify lemons. I guess that’s what an early onset of alzheimer’s do to you. Lisa Genova has told the story of Alice Howland, a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and how her picture perfect life gets changed by a neurodegenerative disease. Being a Neuroscientist her career might have helped the author to bring life to the characters in the novel. I read the book some years ago and after that I watched the movie also. The plot is so gripping that here and there you get a lump in your throat. Sometimes while talking about her symptoms and how she feels and how her family feel, we feel like we are nibbling at a lime. It’s sour.
Everyone forget things. Sometimes random things, sometimes important things too.. But what if at one point we look at our parents or best friend cluelessly, trying to figure out who they are. And then all of a sudden you are reminded of who they are, then comes the drowning feeling and pangs of fear. I can’t even imagine how awful they must have felt. Going unrecognised by our beloved is a nightmare for many of us.
The movie also is a brilliant depiction. Julienne Moore literally live as Alice Howland. The scenes where she forget the bathroom of her own house and cries, man, it definitely is heartbreaking. (It’s not like I forgot the scene where she fails to recognize her own daughter, but still).I felt like holding her close and comforting her. Thank God her husband John comes and helps her. Both the movie and the book are awesome. No wonder the book was a best seller then and Julianne Moore won an Academy Award for Best Actress at the 87th Academy Awards for her role as Alice Howland.
I love this novel, you know. It was like talking to Alice or watching her life and career in it’s peak and then watching things fall apart around her and her not being able to pick it up. Alzheimer’s takes our Alice from her own world where everyone and everything is comforting and familiar and make her walk through some strange land where she finds it difficult to recognize people, place and she has no idea how to get out of there. You didn’t think the choice of name was random, did you?
No one dies in this movie or book. But still you feel sad. You see how hard Alice try to keep the disease at bay. Her family tries to change themselves to fit perfectly together with their beloved. They try their best to make things easier for Alice. She is trying her best to remain the same Alice. Memories and knowledge and all other things that made her what she is now, is slipping away through her fingers. She tries to hold on to them in vain. Her words are taken away from her. But she is still Alice, whatever may happen.
The words that come from her revealing how helpless she feels, hit you hard. And it hit you even harder when you realize that, although fiction, this could be true since the person who wrote it, is a neuroscientist, she knows better and it could be real. More lumps in the throat.