Still Alice Book Review

A harrowing look at a crippling disease…..

Still Alice does not shy away from being a full on look at what Alzheimer’s can do and you can’t help but watch the entire time, no matter how bad it gets. I had heard about this book because just last year (2015) there was a movie adaption to the book. I never saw the movie but I made a mental note to myself to pick the book up and give it a read. And the book absolutely pulls at the feels (I don’t mean to sound disrespectful or sarcastic when I say that). Still Alice is a book that you won’t want to put down until you have read the last few words.

The Story

The story revolves around a distinguished psychology professor at Harvard, that goes by the name of Alice Howland, who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s early on in the story. With early-onset Alzheimer’s, we follow the struggles of Alice as her mind is slowly deformed by the disease. Sound depressing? It really really is. But the book isn’t all “woe is me” the whole time like I make it sound. There are some really nice moments in this book, like rays of light shining between the words. Even though it seems like a depressing read, I would encourage everyone to read it because Still Alice is a very real book about a very real disease. In the story, we see family members fight over what to do with Alice, we see people drift from Alice because of her disease, and we also see Alice forget things. The story is very very informative about Alzheimer’s as well which is really cool. I never understood the science behind the disease, but this book lays it out for you on a table and I like that it did that. It’s obvious that the author, Lisa Genova, did her homework because you learn the causes of Alzheimer’s and the effects.

The Characters

Still Alice mainly revolves around Alice, her husband and her three children. Much of the struggles of the story are inward struggles in Alice’s mind, but we see a lot of tension in the family as well. There is one scene in the book that I absolutely love and it’s when the three children fight over how Alice should try to remember things in her day to day life. It paints the characters perfectly and also shows some tension that is likely to happen when a loved one has Alzheimer’s. We see the husband fighting with acceptance of the fact that Alice has Alzheimer’s and that leads to tension between the two as the story moves forward. All in all,  not only the story is real, but the characters are very real as well and I like that. Every character seems to build upon the story in different ways and you will grow to like the characters in the time that you’re with them.

The Verdict…….. 5 out of 5 

  • Offers a very real look at Alzheimer’s
  • Has a great cast of characters
  • Well written

I’d recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It’s a must read, even if it is a little depressing. What did you think of Still Alice? Let me know in the comments below. Thank you for giving this review a read! It really means alot to me. Stay tuned for more reviews and other sorts of blog posts! Have a great weekend!

To Open The Week (my opinion on YA novels, what I’m working on now, and the Windfest Show)

Well it’s monday for starters…….

and while I may be writing this on a Sunday night instead of studying for my history exam on Tuesday (because I’m just a rebel) I can tell you that I am probably not happy this fine Monday morning. The reason is simply because I am currently burning my way through George RR Martin’s Storm of Swords as quick as I can, which means that I will be up late tonight burning through the pages, completely absorbed into Martin’s fantastic world. The choice that I make will leave me exhausted and cranky in the morning.  I’m hoping to finish this book pretty soon so that I can write a review on it for you guys. I’m trying to find some time to write some more reviews or really just get more content on my page in general. I have been pretty bad about my New Year’s resolution so far. I have plenty of ideas like for example, I still have two MCR albums that I have to review for you guys. On top of that, I have The Black (Asking Alexandria’s new album) to review and I think I’m going to finally write a review for House of Cards season 1 which is a brilliant show.

Today, for some reason I was thinking a lot about young adult novels. I think I started thinking about them because I was watching some Vlog brother videos which is a Youtube channel that is run by John Green and his brother Hank. John Green mentioned that he was working on a new book which made me very excited. John has written some of the best novels I have ever read, period. Then I thought about some of the other big YA novels, mainly The Hunger Games and The Divergent Series which have both become phenomenons in the young adult genre. Both have movie series with big name actors in them and both are in the same sub-genre: dystopian. Now I think that this is going to be about dystopian for the most part. I’m not sure if I’m ever going to read a dystopian YA novel again. I remember when I was young and I read The Hunger Games when it was first released. I loved it. The whole concept of it was….. dark. I felt like I shouldn’t have been reading a book this violent, this dark, with such a terrible but wonderfully original concept. I read all of the novels as they came out. The original is still my favorite to this day. The second just made me think meh and the third novel did not impress me. Then I heard about a new series called Divergent. I borrowed all three books from a friend of mine and read them in a week. I know what you’re thinking, well if he tore through them then he must have liked them and that is true. The novels were well written and were addicting to read. There was a lot of action and I never got bored as I ripped through the pages. Once I had finished that series though, I sat back and thought about how Divergent felt vaguely familiar to another series I read. Strong female lead character, sappy romance, overthrow of the government, lots of death and lots of feels. You know where I’m going with this. The Maze Runner is also quite similar to Divergent and I saw a pattern between all three of them.

Now before you jump down my throat, I’m not saying that their bad books, but they’re not exactly different. And I’m not saying that all dystopian novels are like these three franchises. I’m sure some are very original and frankly, if you think you have some good ones to recommend, I would love to check them out. Leave a comment below (please!). I’m just annoyed with the fact that the three biggest YA franchises that have movies being made are all similar in more ways than one. Like I said before, I’m not hating on all YA novels. I love John Green’s books and I just bought another YA novel the other day called Mosquitoland by David Arnold. I’m excited to read that one because it’s a novel about a road trip (I’m a sucker for road trip novels), but besides that I don’t know much else about the book. Who knows though? I might have just grown up (sad face) and have become uninterested in the whole dystopian setting.

The Windfest show

If you guys don’t know this yet, I am in a band. I play guitar and sing for a band called Just Alice. We just released a Youtube video of our new song called Time Bomb and it would be super cool if you guys checked it out. I’ll also leave a link for our Twitter and Facebook page below so you guys can check out our page and follow us. In a little under two weeks, We will be playing at the annual Windfest. Windfest is a small festival that is held in Portland every year. The last time we played at Windfest, we were all super young and we still had Jarrett as our bass player. This will be our first time performing on a stage in almost 2 years (I believe that is correct but I could be wrong)! It’s been a long road and we are very excited to get the opportunity to play again. We got a sick set list that we think you guys will love! So if you live in Portland, Mark the calendar! We will be playing on Saturday April 16 from 1:30-2:15.

Anyways…..

That’s actually pretty much all I have to tell you. That’s kind of my little blog for the day. It was kind of fun writing that one. Have a great week guys! Stay awesome!

Check out Just Alice’s Facebook page here

And check out their Twitter here 

A message from Just Alice

Hey guys!

I just felt like saying a few words about our band, Just Alice, this morning. I just wanted to kind of explain where we were at with the EP and why it is taking so long to release it. First of all, I want everyone to know that every song on this EP is ORIGINAL. I mean, I won’t deny that we like playing covers but we wouldn’t sell our covers. So to all you kids making fun of us because you think that we’re making an EP of covers: you couldn’t be more wrong. By the way, we know of only one name who has been making fun of us and you sir….. you’re getting a free copy of the EP because I want you more than anyone to hear it. We have all the songs written and everything. We have found a contact who can record us sometime in the near future hopefully. These past few weeks we’ve been hard at work, trying to perfect the songs, making sure everything is perfect before we start the recording. We have put a pause on writing songs for now, because our main focus right now is to perfect our current songs and record them. If I were to give a release window for it, I would want to say somewhere in April more than likely. Being in this band is honestly just an awesome experience. I get to play and write music with my two closest friends in the world. Not every practice is a great one, but we make the best of every single one. Sometimes we just sit and talk for hours about music. It’s awesome. I know that we might seem lame to you. I know some of you will tell us that you read this and you’re very excited for the EP, but you’re not. Frankly, we don’t care. If you like us, that’s great, if you don’t that’s great too. Just don’t flip flop back and forth. Lastly, I just want you guys to know that we are very very VERY appreciative of all of the feedback and support. We hope that this EP will live up to expectations for you guys! Have a great Friday and a great weekend! Stay safe guys!

Sincerely,

Colby Farr, lead singer/lead guitar of Just Alice

P.S. 2016 WILL BE OUR YEAR!

I kind of like college now…….

Hey Guys! Yes, it’s true….. I’m weird…… I know……

I hope you’re all having an awesome Tuesday and I hope that this week only gets better from here. I don’t really know if I’m going to post this, I just feel like it’s been awhile since I’ve written anything just for myself. On top of that, I don’t really want to start my english essay (and in all honesty I can’t yet, because I haven’t interviewed all the people I need too). But man it’s kind of been a great semester for me so far. I haven’t fallen behind (yet)  and I actually had my first story published in a newspaper! It might have been a simple college paper but it still counts! These past three (I think) weeks have been awesome. I absolutely love my journalism classes. The students and staff are all incredibly nice and incredibly patient with me! I find myself wanting to go to school when I wake up (at least on Mondays and Wednesdays). It all makes me very excited for what is yet to come. It kind of goes to show that once you find a major that you really enjoy, then going to school ain’t half bad. If you enjoy your job, then it’s a little easier to get out of bed every morning. the morale of this story, is to find something that you love doing. The only thing I dislike about college now, is that I’m not done with those stupid basics.

12728839_1243599452320868_4461122415905142459_n
My first story about Kristy Urbick

Guitar Lessons!

On top of being introduced into journalism, I am also teaching my first guitar lessons ever this week, which is awesome. My first lesson was yesterday actually with this cool 12 year old kid. I was a little nervous at first but the lesson went alright and I’m actually kind of looking forward to it next week again! The kid was picking it up fast! It makes me very excited for the future with him. He told me I was a pretty good teacher (I’m serious). I have another lesson tonight, with an old friend of mine. He is looking to play the electric, so I’m gonna have to find something to teach him. Still not 100% sure with how we’re going to start out. With the other kid, he wanted to learn acoustic so we just started out with a few simple chords. With this other guy though, he wants to learn some AC/DC so I guess that’s what I’ll be teaching him. I’ve been playing the guitar for almost 7 years now and even though I’m not the best, I think I’m good enough to teach people.

Then there’s the band

Just Alice, the band that I am in has kind of hit a roadblock this past weekend. It’s nothing major to worry about, we aren’t breaking up, but there is a slight problem. Recording the music on our own without any help is kind of a challenge (especially when we don’t know what we’re doing). We’re going to be putting a hold on the recording process for now, find someone to help us out and then resume. I’m not sure when that will happen but we will let you know as soon as we know. And trust me, the songs are getting better and better everytime we play them. In the meantime, however,  this gives us the opportunity to write more songs! That’s the part that I’m really excited about. It looks like this EP might be more than 5 songs after all! Worst case scenario: We aren’t able to release an official EP until around April, maybe even later (sad face). But hey! There is some good news! We are already confirmed for playing at Windfest! We don’t know all of the exact details yet, but we’re set to play! We’re really excited for this, we have a lot of songs to play for you guys.

So basically….

I just really wanted to type some stuff, whether it was for me or for you guys (I totally wrote it for you guys). That’s my life currently, and you’re all caught up with it. Again, I hope you guys are having a good week. Has anything interesting happened to you recently? By the way sorry I haven’t posted so much, I was really busy the last two weeks, focusing on my newspaper story. Thank you for giving this a read, if you did! Have a great week guys!