Lisa Genova is a masterful story-teller. What makes her work so interesting is her education is neuroscience which manifests itself in her books as each work delves into a different diseases/syndromes. Still Alice was early onset Alzheimers, Left Neglected was left neglect syndrome, Love Anthony was autism.
Unfortunately, I have found her writing to be less interesting as her newer works are published. I did not enjoy Love Anthony very much and felt the same way about Inside The O’Briens.
Joe O’Brien is a Boston police officer who finds himself facing the devastating diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease (HD). As he comes to grips with the reality of the disease, the effect it had on his mother and it effect it slowly has on him, we learn much about the disease and how it is characterized in people.
Unfortunately, I found the novel was quite disjointed. I wanted to remain in Joe’s narrative (as he IS the protagonist who is suffering), but for some reason Genova chose to delve into the mind of certain other characters with no true explanation on WHY she chose them specifically.
We certainly understand that she is attempting to show the effect that HD has on families — as it is genetic and children of those diagnosed with HD have a 50% chance of inheriting the positive gene and thus the disease itself.
However, I felt that the novel skipped around far too much and didn’t delve enough into the individual characters. There was too much going on; Still Alice felt much simpler and easier to follow, creating more of an impact on the reader.
While I sympathized for the family as I read the book, I didn’t find myself able to truly *FEEL* their anguish as they all suffered from the disease in a myriad of ways.
I so wish that Genova had focused the novel a bit more, as it could have been much more emotional and moving than it ended up being. Perhaps the most important goal of the novel is achieved anyway though: educating us on the truth of Huntington’s Disease and hopefully helping spur on more research into it’s eventual cure.
2/5 for what I had hoped would be better.