Neuroscientist and novelist Genova (Still Alice) creates another poignant portrayal of those affected by neurological disorders. Joe O’Brien, a third-generation Irish American and longtime Boston cop, begins experiencing violent rages, sudden falls, and difficulties keeping still. Colleagues think he’s drinking, but Joe denies any problem until his wife, Rosie, insists he see a doctor. Tests reveal Huntington’s Disease, an incurable genetic disorder causing slow degeneration and death. Even worse, Joe and Rosie’s four children each have a 50-50 chance of having Huntington’s themselves. Will ballet dancer Megan, rebellious Patrick, or married firefighter JJ have, and pass along, the gene? How can the youngest sibling, 21-year-old Katie, balance her family’s needs—and her own chance of illness—with her fledgling attempts to craft an adult life beyond the shelter of the O’Briens’ close circle? Does the news require Joe to reinterpret his own mother’s troubled life and death? Narrated through Joe and Katie’s contrasting viewpoints, the novel effectively dramatizes the challenge of an illness that affects several generations simultaneously and demands searing emotional, logistical, and financial choices. Genova’s book will move readers as well as demystify a condition sometimes called “the cruelest disease known to man.” (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/13/2015 Release date: 04/01/2015 Genre: Fiction
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