Author: Lisa Genova
Published: March 23rd 2021
TW: Alzheimer’s disease, dementia
“You are more than what you can remember”
Thank you to Harmony Books for sending me a copy of this book. If you would like to pre-order a copy, click here!
Where this book excelled for me was in its relatability. Obviously we all have memory so it’s easy to assume why this book is relatable, but even deeper than that I found myself thinking ‘I do that!’ such as when Genova mentioned going through the alphabet when a word is on the tip of her tongue (I honestly thought I was the only one who did this!) While I did think the examples became a little repetitive (such as not remembering where you’ve parked your car) it didn’t hinder the impact of the writing and will probably serve well in making the book more accessible to those even with no understanding of neuroscience (I knew what the hippocampus was but that’s about as far as my knowledge extended before reading!)
Something I’ve always admired about Genova’s books is her ability to pique my interest; as someone who hated science at school, I always struggled to find it interesting (probably because I was no good at it!). But, like with her fiction, this book is different. Not only did it interest me thoroughly throughout, but I walked away wanting to take action to improve my brain health and research so much of what she’d mentioned. In almost every chapter there are palpable exercises you can try yourself which made it a lot easier to understand the science. For example, can you, from memory, draw the Apple logo? Or would you be able to pick the correct penny out of a group of 12 different penny images (11 of which are wrong)?
Lisa Genova is easily one of my favourite authors and I’ve so far read all but one of her books (which I now have a copy of and will be reading very soon!) Using her experience as a neuroscientist she crafts stories which are not only educational but are always as hopeful and life-affirming as they are devastating. From Alzheimer’s and autism to multiple sclerosis and left neglect, Genova uses her fiction to spread awareness for these diseases and show how despite their impact, they can be overcome. Remember is her first work of non-fiction and I’ve been fortunate enough to receive a copy ahead of its release in March. Subtitled ‘The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting’ this book attempts to explain how memory is used in our everyday lives and the reason that we may be able to remember what happened on Christmas Day 10 years ago, but can’t remember what we had for dinner last week.
For fans of: Still Alice, Left Neglected, Inside the O’Briens, Love Anthony, Every Note Played, Brain on Fire
Passages and chapters of this book very much felt like Genova’s attempt to pacify what I’m sure is a plethora of messages she receives from anxious people, worried that they have the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease. And I think this book does an excellent job at doing this. As a 24-year-old, losing my memory has never been something I’ve been very concerned about, though I can understand that if a disease like Alzheimer’s runs in your family, or you find yourself forgetting things, why you would be worried. What Genova does perfectly is not only alay these fears (and debunk common misconceptions) but also gives some good advice on how to keep you brain healthy! For me, understanding something always makes it less scary, so this book could be really helpful for those concerned!