Saturday, June 20, 2015

[review] Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova

Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publishing Date: April 7, 2015
352 Pages
Format: ebook, ARC
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads Rating: 5 stars


From award-winning, New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Lisa Genova comes a powerful new novel that does for Huntington’s Disease what her debut Still Alice did for Alzheimer’s.

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.

Praised for writing that “explores the resilience of the human spirit” (The San Francisco Chronicle), Lisa Genova has once again delivered a novel as powerful and unforgettable as the human insights at its core.

My Review 

I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review. 

Just like Still Alice, this book completely drew me in. Genova takes on another serious, but taboo, neurological disease. Huntington's Disease affects roughly 30,000 people in the united states. It doesn't sound like a lot compared to many of the other disease in this world, like breast cancer and Alzheimer's. But nevertheless, it's incredibly serious and deadly. But no one wants to talk about it. 

Genova introduces us to the O'Briens; Joe, his wife Ruth, and their four children: JJ, Meghan, Katie and Patrick. When Joe finds out he has HD, his children are left with the choice of finding out whether they are gene positive or gene negative. JJ and Meghan find out, but Katie and Patrick don't. The book takes us through finding out Joe has HD, to watching his disease slowly take over his body. And throughout this, Katie struggles with whether she wants to find out if she's HD gene positive or negative. 

I really liked how this book went back and forth between Katie and Joe's perspective. We watch Joe struggle with his growing symptoms and learning how to cope. And Katie struggles with her decision to find out about her future. The entire family copes with the disease so differently and I think it really shows how this disease can affect so many different people in different ways. No one is the same and the disease doesn't necessarily affect people the same. 

Genova is definitely a new favorite author of mine. I loved Still Alice and Inside the O'Briens lived up to my expectations. I can't wait to read her other work and I continue to recommend her books to my friends. I can't say enough good things about the awareness she is bringing to these terrible diseases. 


  1. Oh I didn't know she had a new book. Still Alice is one of my favorite reads of all time. Can't wait to read this!

    1. Definitely check this one out!! It's so good! If you like Still Alice, you'll love this!