Thursday, April 2, 2015
Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Requested ARC from publisher
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
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.
When I saw that Inside the O'Briens was available on NetGalley I jumped at the chance and it did not disappoint.
I read Still Alice, my first Lisa Genova novel, last month and it instantly made me a fan. Her ability to draw attention to unknown and misunderstood diseases such as Alzheimer's, in Still Alice, and Huntington's disease, in this book, are admirable. Her heavy research on the diseases, their impacts to the person diagnosed and their loved ones is very evident in her writing. This makes her characters very relatable. Reading about the Joe O'Brien and his family's ability to rally around him and the disease was almost like I knew them. They could have been my family or a family down the street. It was hauntingly real.
Inside the O'Briens was so captivating that I could not put it down. I ended up reading it in one sitting. Fans of Still Alice will appreciate this novel and I highly recommend it. I will definitely be purchasing a hard copy of this book for my collection.
A digital copy of Inside the O'Briens was requested from the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes.