“Huntington’s disease manifests in motor, cognitive and psychiatric symptoms that typically begin at age 35-45 and advance relentlessly until death. There is currently no cure or treatment that can halt, slow or reverse the disease’s progression.”
Inside the O'Briens is is about a man [Joe O’Brian] who is diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease. Now that he has this disease, not only does it affect him, but now his 4 children also have a fifty percent chance of inheriting the disease. The book follows the family on this journey(?), and how they deal with everything that happens along the way.
Don’t go into this book thinking it’s going to be about rainbows and fairies and miraculous recoveries, because it’s not (I’ve never read a book about rainbows and fairies, I have no idea where that came from). Lisa Genova’s books are real, which is what I really do love about them. She doesn’t sugar coat anything, she doesn’t give false hope, she just brings awareness to these terrible diseases that people have to live through.
The book is told in three parts, which I am assuming is because there are three stages of Huntington’s disease. The book is all in third person, but the first part is told purely from Joe’s perspective which was kind of like Still Alice, but then you get to the next part and it switches to his daughter Katie. I really enjoyed Katie’s point of view! I felt like I could relate to her so much more than a 43 year old man to be honest, just because I could imagine myself in her shoes. The third part went back to Joe with one or two chapters of Katie thrown in there.
To be honest, that is what brought the book down for me. I found Joe’s parts to be really boring and I just felt myself wanting to skim over it. I liked the aspect of getting both sides of the situation though, from the patient and how they live with the disease and knowing their kids might have it too, and from the child’s perspective dealing with the fact their loved one has the disease, and knowing they could have it too. Then there is the big question: to find out, or not to find out. 90% of people who are at the risk of Huntington’s disease choose not to find out. This is so much higher than I would have expected and is absolutely crazy to think about. What would you do? Because I really have no idea what I would do. You would live your whole life wondering if every time you stumbled it was Huntington’s Disease whether you choose to find out or not.
This book was a very fast read; I literally read it in two sittings (with a day or two in between). However it was really boring at times. I didn’t feel connected with any of the characters, except maybe Katie but then it went back to Joe’s perspective which I think really took away from the emotional experience for me.
I feel like I have more to say but I can't think of anything. I'm sure I've missed something important but overall I liked the book, just not as much as I had hoped. I wouldn’t re-read it but if you are slightly interested in the book, or you like Lisa Genova’s writing, I do recommend that you read this book. Because in the end, you won’t regret reading it, even if you didn’t really enjoy it (like me).
Rating: 6.5/10 (Le Book Rating Scale)
Publisher: Simon and Shuster
You will like this if you liked: Still Alice by Lisa Genova (although if you LOVED that book like I did, you won’t like this one as much... I don’t think)
*This book was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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