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A New York Times bestseller ▪ A Library Journal Best Books of 2015 Pick ▪ A St. Louis Post-Dispatch Best Books of 2015 Pick ▪A GoodReads Top Ten Fiction Book of 2015 ▪ A People Magazine Great Read
From New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Lisa Genova comes a “heartbreaking…very human novel” (Matthew Thomas, author of We Are Not Ourselves) that does for Huntington’s disease what her debut novel Still Alice did for Alzheimer’s.
Joe O’Brien is a forty-three-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s disease.
Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure, and each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.
Praised for writing that “explores the resilience of the human spirit” (San Francisco Chronicle), Lisa Genova has once again delivered a novel as powerful and unforgettable as the human insights at its core.
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.