Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova
(Gallery Books, 2015, 343 pages)
You might recognize the name of this author – she wrote the book Still Alice which was made into a movie this past year starring Julianne Moore. Her novels all have a “medical” component which Genova is able to humanize and portray accessibly to her readers.
The O’Brien family lives in Charlestown, right outside Boston. Joe O’Brien, the patriarch, is a member of the Boston Police Department who suddenly finds his life turned on its head when he discovers he has Huntington’s Disease. As he tries to come to grips with his new reality he realizes how deeply Huntington’s will affect his life. Not only will it impact his job but his family is also at risk since it’s a genetic disease. Each of his four children have a 50/50 chance of inheriting Huntington’s and Joe has a hard time with the idea that it’s his “fault” if they do happen to get the disease.
Inside the O’Briens looks at how the O’Brien family copes with the reality of this disease. Genova does a great job explaining what life with Huntington’s can be like. It’s not a disease that people have a clear idea about so I felt like I learned a lot reading this book. I’d definitely be interested in checking out other titles by Genova. Good thing we have more of her books here in the library 😉