Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

by

obriensI like Lisa Genova as a writer. She holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard and has written 3 other novels. This novel takes place in Boston and Joe, the main protagonist is a policeman in the Boston PD. One day his world as he knows it is shattered: he finds out his recent falls and involuntary actions are due to the fact that he is developing Huntington’s Disease. Genova pulls no punches as the reader discovers along with Joe and his family just how horrifying the disease can be. Since the gene is in his family, (he realizes that his mother died from the disease,and not alcoholism), each of Joe’s adult children, two daughters and two sons, have a 50% chance that they will inherit the gene and develop the disease. Each character wrestles with the choice of being tested vs. waiving the test and not knowing if they will develop the disease. The reader will certainly empathize with the dilemma of the characters and their choices. Genova presents a clear case of life with Huntington’s disease here, as she ends the novel with a compassionate plea for the reader to donate to the cause.

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