One of the things I love almost as much as I do reading a book, is corresponding with the book's author. I have previously blogged about this in a blog I called, Dear Author. And here I am again, communicating with yet another author, Lisa Genova.
I had a question for the author, Lisa Genova, about her book and the movie based on it, "Still Alice". I started by googling her name and found this site: Lisa Genova's Page. Lisa Genova is an American neuroscientist and writer. She self-published her debut novel Still Alice, about a Harvard professor who suffers early onset Alzheimer's disease. Wikipedia
I looked for a way to directly contact Ms. Genova and found the most direct way was to go through her Personal Assistant, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Mar 2, 2015, at 3:30 PM, Sherril Smoger-Kessous <email@example.com> wrote:
I am writing this to you as a conduit to Lisa Genova. If you can share my note and question with her and possibly supply me with an answer, I would be very appreciative.
I am a 63 year old woman with a career background as a Speech Pathologist, so, like Alice, in Ms. Genova’s book, language, Linguistics and intellectual pursuit have always been important to me. Like probably hundreds’ of thousands of women in my age group, when I read the book, Still Alice, and when I saw the film, I considered the possibility, though not probability, that I could have or might eventually develop Alzheimer’s disease. For me personally, it is one of my biggest fears as I try to approach aging gracefully.
I, like everyone, have had my instances of “senior moments”, though I don’t really consider myself a senior. I forget why I came into a room. I “can’t find my keys”, a word I am searching for, totally escapes me (this one happens a lot), etc. When watching the movie, I could not remember the name and address that the doctor presented to Alice initially, upon checking her memory. This bothered me more than any other memory lapse I’ve experienced.
So, here’s my question. While watching the film, I kept thinking about a section of the novel that I thought was being deleted, though I remembered it as being important. When I got home, I researched this online and I searched through my copy of the book. I could not find the part about Alice starting a support group of her peers with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. What I’m afraid of is that, in fact, it is not there. I remember this as being an essential part of the book, but perhaps it’s a hollow memory. Was there a section of the book including such a support group started by Alice?
I thank you in advance for sharing this note with Lisa Genova. Even if you can answer my question without passing it on to her, I hope that you will still do so. I want her to know how much I loved the book and the movie and how much I appreciate that she has opened a door to one of the most frightening diseases of our time.
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
My email was sent on March 2, 2015. I recieved the following reply on March 5:
Thank you for taking the opportunity to share your kind words of thanks and gratitude with Lisa. She will be honored to know that Still Alice touched you so deeply.
You are correct, Alice did start a support group! It is discussed in the “November 2004" chapter, page 204.
Personal Assistant to Lisa Genova
So, in the end, I got my answer and was quite gratified to know that my memory of the support group, started by Alice in the book, was in fact accurate. I am always delighted when I reach out to an author and hear back from them. In this case, it was the author's personal assistant, but knowing she will share my email with her, is enough.
She didn’t want to become someone people avoided and feared. She wanted to live to hold Anna’s baby and know it was her grandchild. She wanted to see Lydia act in something she was proud of. She wanted to see Tom fall in love. She wanted to read every book she could before she could no longer read.