Saturday, May 16, 2015

Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova

Book Summary(via Goodreads):

From award-winning, New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Lisa Genova comes a powerful new novel that does for Huntington’s Disease what her debut Still Alice did for Alzheimer’s.

Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-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. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. 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. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing?

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.

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Gallery, Threshold and Pocket books for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***

This insomniac's opinion: 

Lisa Genova is a genius at writing about disease and the powerful outward ripples that such a diagnosis can cause. I was thrilled to receive this ARC as she tackles a new topic- Huntington's. 

I have to admit that the first chapters of this novel were slow going for me and I wasn't quite in love with the protagonist, Joe, until solidly halfway through the novel. However, I devoured the novel in a short couple of days and, by the last page, was thoroughly enamored with not only Joe but with his entire family. 

This is a roller coaster of a novel, full of emotion and drama. If you are a reader that enjoys realistic emotional dramas, this is for you!

Worth staying up all night to read?

Yes. After the first half, you won't want to put it down. 


4 stars. 

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