'I urge you to read this book. The story is so uplifting and redeeming that it fills you with hope ... Quite simply brilliant' Judy Finnigan
'Devastating. A story about the resilience of love in the face of a tragic, inevitable fate' Julie Cohen, author of Dear Thing
The breathtaking new novel from the author of STILL ALICE, now adapted into an Academy Award-winning film starring Julianne Moore.
Joe O'Brien is a Boston cop; his physical stamina and methodical mind have seen him through decades policing the city streets, while raising a family with his wife Rosie. When he starts making uncharacteristic errors, he attributes them to stress. Finally, he agrees to see a doctor and is handed a terrifying, unexpected diagnosis: Huntington's disease.
Not only is Joe's life set to change beyond recognition, but each of his four grown children has a fifty-fifty chance of inheriting the disease. Observing her potential future play out in his escalating symptoms, his pretty yoga teacher daughter Katie wrestles with how to make the most of the here and now, and how to care for her dad who is, inside, always an O'Brien.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Still Alice author Lisa Genova delivers another emotional wallop with Inside the O’Briens. After years of the occasional raging outburst and inexplicable physical mishaps, Boston policeman Joe O’Brien is diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, sometimes called “the cruelest disease known to man”. We were swept away by the story of how Joe’s steadfast wife, Rosie, and his four grown kids adapt to the news—and the possibility that they’ve inherited this genetic time bomb. Genova is brilliant at capturing small moments and magnifying their beauty in the wake of tragedy.
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.
Insightful and moving
This account of Joe O'Brien's descent into an inherited disease and the repercussions on his family is so down to earth and authentic I shared in his torment. Not an easy read but a worthwhile one.