Sixteen questions for the book club reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova:

  1. What were your thoughts and impressions of Alzheimer’s disease before reading this book, especially as it would affect a younger person? How did your impressions change after reading the book? Do you think the book did a good job of illustrating what it would feel like to have the disease?
  2. If your parent or spouse was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, how do you think you would handle it?
  3. Alice and her family are lucky to be financially well-off. How do you think this made the experience of having such a debilitating disease — and caring for someone with such a debilitating disease — easier?
  4. Which character did you empathize with the most?
  5. Alice’s identity was in large part defined by her mind, as she was a professor of linguistics. Do you think that made the abrupt loss of her cognitive abilities even more heartbreaking? How did the disease affect other traits— say her capacity to bond emotionally and spiritually? Are the arts and stories something that someone with this disease can continue to appreciate?
  6. Do you think Alice’s husband was morally justified in taking a job in a new city? How should he have balanced his personal dream with his obligation to his wife?
  7. Who in Alice’s life do you think was the most supportive of her coping with this condition?
  8. If your parent was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and you could take a blood test to know your chances of getting it, would you want to know? Why or why not?
  9. How did you find the writing in this book? Was it well-written or sometimes clunky?
  10. Did you find the dialogue in the book credible? Is this the way people talk in real life?
  11. Which character did you find the most flawed? Why?
  12. The book was originally self-published as the author was not able to find a publisher for it. Any theories on why?
  13. People often say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Is that true in this case? Are there any possible silver linings to experiencing Alzheimer’s or loving someone with it? Did any of the characters in the book seem to grow in a positive direction from the experience?
  14. How do you think our society treats people with Alzheimer’s? Do we have the infrastructure and resources necessary? What should we be doing that we aren’t?
  15. What did you think of the way the book ended?
  16. Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?