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Inside the O'Briens NetGalley ARCBecause I enjoyed Still Alice so much I had high hopes going into this book Unfortunately I didn't love reading Inside the O'Briens Half the time I felt like I was reading a textbook on Huntington's Disease with some examples of how a family is affected thrown in for good measure Although it was good to get than just Joe's perspective Katie was an annoying character Her chapters were the same wishy washy words of should I should I not yoga I don't know HD HD HD I started to skim her chapters because there was no new information offered It doesn't bother me that view spoilerwe don't find out Katie's test results hide spoiler Pass the tissuesthis one is a tearjerker pronounced here as teeya jahkah Both tragic and triumphant this moving story was very difficult for me to put down I was invested and engaged from the first page Once again the incomparable Lisa Genova gives a face to a rare but devastating disease and places us in the home heart and mind of a family left to live with a diagnosis that has leveled them at the knees and will change all of their lives forever This is a diagnosis that makes one seriously uestion whether uncertainty is the kinder fate and we stumble along with this family as they navigate this treacherous unforgiving terrain I love a story that takes place at home and no doubt the references to the ballpark the landmarks and all things Boston make it especially appealing to me There is an authenticity to this book that truly defies explanation This is exactly what Boston neighborhoods are This is so accurate that I actually believe I can get in my car drive to Charlestown spend a half hour looking for parking climb the stairs of any triple decker there and meet the O'Briens They are there and that level of authenticity is what allows this fictional family to break my heart They will break yours too I really liked Genova's book Inside the O'Brians She has a way of pulling me into the heart soul and life of so many different diseases This story is about Huntington's Disease and was told through the life of the O'Brian family I enjoyed the Irish Catholic setting a culture where family is highly valued Of course this made it all the tougher as the father is diagnosed leaving all four of his children with a 5050 chance of inheriting the disease themselves This is where the story leads us into the lives of these four young adults wrestling with the idea of being tested Much of the story is told through the eyes of the youngest daughter Katie the one who has struggled with decisions all her life It is mostly through her eyes that I watched in horror how uickly her fathers disease progressedThe book did a fantastic job showing what Huntington's Disease looks like A person with Huntington's can often look drunk as muscle control is lostThe social stigma which follows is heartbreaking There were some great lessons to be learned here not only about the disease but about how to live one's life Do we live mostly in the past present or future in our minds and why? A beautiful line Katie had written was Every breath is a risk Love is why we breathI fully enjoyed this novel my only complaint it being too long It felt repetitious at times Sometimes every change in disease progression it's conseuences and how it is handled became too much I was frustrated as I felt a little trimming down would have had of an impactStill these were small problems The ending had me in the ugly cry and I am forever changed by the information presented here on a dreadful disease that is Huntington's Man what a good read On the surface this is simply the story of a close knit working class family that suddenly has to face the horrors of the fatal Huntington’s Disease HD when Joe a cop learns he has the disease and he gradually becomes and incapacitated But put this simple story into the hands of a writer such as Genova and you have a masterpiece The way she describes this family without drowning in sentimentality is an art Genova’s pacing is spot on her sentences pure the story poignant She knows how to grab you and keep you enmeshed with this family You cry with the O’Briens you sweat out their decisions you worry with them you feel their pain Oh this disease is bad Joe accidentally punches people slurs his words gets into rages And it only gets worse The disease whispers “Oh you think this is bad well wait till you see this” as some new and terrible symptom appears The family is up against a monster and ultimately the monster will winOne of Joe’s 20 something kids Katie shares the spotlight as she agonizes over whether to find out if she carries the HD gene She has a 50 percent chance If she does have the gene she will definitely get the diseaseIt left me wondering what I would do Find out my fate and be miserable and scared or not find out and be miserable and scared? What do you gain by knowing you are going to get HD? Say you find out you have the gene do you get out the bucket list and make the most of your life? Or do you retreat? Do you think about suicide? I just learned that there was Huntington’s Disease among my great great grandparents It blows my mind to know that long ago people in my family faced the same horrifying life as Joe In the book Joe’s mother had had Huntington’s and they locked her up in a mental hospital and labeled her a drunk I wonder if my ancestors faced the same fateOne big nit about the book I didn’t buy that Joe continued working as a cop when he was first diagnosed Really? He has people’s lives in his hands He’s putting his partner and others at risk Can he run fast enough? Is his hand steady if he needs to use his gun? Can people trust a cop who slurs his words and walks funny and who is subject to fits of rage? I think he should have uit the force immediately found a job that didn’t have such high stakesAnd a bigger nit I didn’t like the way the book ended I appreciate Genova’s intention but it left me feeling ripped off Will be interesting to see if the ending bothered others Other things that didn’t make me happy the detailed descriptions of yoga positions and a baseball game Luckily yoga and baseball were minor side trips only hogging a few pages Still at those times it felt like Genova was writing a user’s manual—I was very conscious of the author I also wasn’t crazy about the affirmations but that’s just me All of Genova’s novels so far have featured a hero who is faced with some medical horror her most famous being Still Alice about a woman with Alzheimer’s It’s to Genova’s credit that she manages to educate us about disorders while telling a good story with complex characters we care about She always does her research but she never makes her novels preachy or pedantic I’m impressed that she’s such a crusader; after the story she even has info on how to donate to the HD cause It makes me like her not just as a writer but also as a personAnother novel about Huntington’s Disease is Five Days Left It was way too sappy for me I gave it only 2 stars but it does give you another glimpse into the life of someone with HD Did I love Inside the O’Briens? Hell yes I was riveted by this story; I was always hot to get back to it I stayed up late reading it and I raved about it to friends And for the most part I didn’t look at page numbers—all tell tale signs that I had a 5 star book on my hands But toward the end the description of all Joe’s symptoms seemed repetitive and tedious I was peeking at page numbers all of the sudden and I dropped my rating to 4 stars It’s a great book though Not as amazing as Still Alice but really goodThank you NetGalley I wish to thank Net Galley Simon and Schuster publishing and Dr Lisa Genova for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an unbiased reviewInside the O’Briens is an outstanding novel possibly my favorite of all 20 books I have read so far this year It is written by Dr Lisa Genova author of Still Alice Joe O’Brien is a 44 year old Irish Catholic police officer living in Charlestown MA the oldest neighborhood in Boston Joe is diagnosed with Huntington’s disease HD a rare untreatable neurodegenerative illness The disease is inherited A person with HD has a 50% chance of passing the gene on to each child Everyone with the gene will develop HD; everyone with HD will die Joe has 4 young adult children JJ Patrick Meghan and Katie Joe and Katie are the protagonists and the story is told by both their points of view 3rd person narrativeWhat I like best about this novel is how Dr Genova really focuses onto the many facets of this illness Being a physician I am aware of this disease though I have never seen a patient with HD I dare say most of the population not in the medical field has never heard of it The author gives us a very clear picture of what Huntington’s disease is all about She explains in easy to understand terms what the genetics of HD are what is involved in finding out if you are carrying the gene and what it is like for not only the patient to live with HD but what the ramifications are on the patient’s family friends and coworkers It is not an easy disease to live with How will you spend the rest of your days and what will be your attitude? How will you relate to your family? It is very difficult for offspring to decide whether or not to undergo genetic testing Do you want to know that you will die early of this grotesue disease? Or do you decline testing in order to hold out hope even knowing that a negative test would set you free But will you truly be free even with a negative test? If you test positive or if you decline testing will you want to marry? Would that be fair? Would you want to have children? Will every stumble loss of balance or dropped glass be a sign that the disease is beginning? The uestions are endless By opening a window to the O’Brien’s lives these and other uestions are examined in depth through the lives of Joe his wife Rosie and his children especially Katie It is evident that a tremendous amount of research went into the writing of this fictional account Dr Genova has earned a PhD in neuroscience from Harvard University so she certainly has the background to write about Huntington’s disease But it is the way she humanized this disease that moved me The characters are so compelling so realistic and just sohuman To see their struggles in handling the entire situation and how they each came to terms with it was simply spellbinding I thought about these people when I went to bed and when I woke up I am still thinking about them after finishing the book I will miss themIn summary Inside the O’Briens is both captivating and highly enlightening I highly recommend it to all readers This is my first Lisa Genova book It will not be the last 5 stars 35 Once again Genova takes a regular family a family that could be yours or mine and touchingly portrays this family confronted with extraordinary events In this case the family is Irish Catholic living in Boston Joe is a police officer he and his wife have four grown children They have the usual problems not enough time a grown son still trying to find his way testing their patience one son married and two daughters both somewhat settled in their careers Life is good but hectic until Joe starts exhibiting some strange symptomsHuntington is a horrible disease and one that children have a 5050 chance of inheriting This novel worked for me because this family was so likable so easy in which to relate Having a disease that is life taking does become your whole life becomes an obsession There is guilt about passing this on to your children crisis in faith all the other emotions really I can just imagine how devastating this would be Yet life does go on there are decisions to make the present to live and this is what these characters each in their own way must do Find their way forward look to a future uncertain or not That Geneva can educate while telling a story is to her credit My only small criticism is that at times I felt she was a little heavy handed with the repetition of Huntington symptoms but this is something she feels passionate about and in no way lessened my involvement in the story I also liked the way the novel ends not exactly happy but hopefulARC from NetGalley Sometimes a book educates you on matters you were unaware of but should not have been like Huntington's Disease and how it destroys a person in the most cruelest of ways Reading this was like a slap in the face how was I so in the dark about this disease? Then again I have a nephrostomy and 99% of people don't know what that is Lisa Genova did that with Inside the O'Briens not only a brilliant novel but one that brings awareness to an illness that I would guess not many would know a whole lot about It reminded me somewhat not so much in writing style but topic in some of the books written by Jodi Picoult 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 DiseaseAs HD is a genetic neurological disorder his diagnosis sends the whole family into a state of terrified limbo it's a 5050 chance a child of someone with the positive HD gene will have the positive gene too Life expectancy is not great and uality of life and dignity are out the window by that point This is a book that really tackles some tough issues including how the family cope to support each other whilst each dealing with their own fears and decisions to make It's like someone dropped an atomic bomb in the lounge room and nobody is safe from it nobody It changes everything The strength in this book for me is in the characters well developed believable and complex I was right there with them in their home feeling what they were feeling The sheer helplessness the anger the grief everything You really do need to get emotionally invested in this book as you read I got the best out of it that way Obviously not a light hearted read but it's written so well and Lisa Genova has done a top job of bringing to the reader's attention something that really should have a lot support and publicity As of now there is no cure in sight for Huntington's Disease There was however great strength and amazing family commitment exampled via this book The book hooked me from the first chapter I fell in love with Joe and his battle to see what was happening to him how it impacted his career in the police force his dignity his family nothing was left untouched He is a character that you just bond to and love In fact I liked all the characters in this novel The children have to make the decision to get tested now or not to find out if they have the gene or remain in the dark and just wait and see Can you imagine? Lisa painted their journey with that battle of whether to face the truth or not and the different way they each felt about it was brilliant Not an easy read this one it pulls on the heart strings and it's easy to get caught up in the emotions that are an undercurrent that makes this book so strongI finished the book at 300am after devouring the last 50% of the book with matchsticks keeping my eyes open I was so absorbed It's now 432am here in the UK and I had to write my review before I lost what I was feeling A book that made me think made me feel No real tears but plenty of empathy Glad to also be educated on this awful disorder This should have been 5 stars but I give it 45 simply because I did not like the ending It was the only bit of the book that let me down personally It's the author's choice how to end a book but I felt empty with the need to know Darn it Can Lisa message me in secret to tell me?So a powerful painful and highly addictive read that would appeal to many types of readers I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone It's urged me to learn about Huntington's Disease tooIt's been a hard review to write as I don't feel I can get across clearly enough how powerful the impact of it is it's left me kind of drained I need to recover and ponder the book over the coming week This review plus book chat giveaways and can be found on my pageimage error Posted at Shelf Inflicted Alice Wexler’s brilliant scientific memoir Mapping Fate made me want to further explore the horror that is Huntington’s disease so I decided to check out Lisa Genova’s fictional account of a Boston area family who is affected Joe O’Brien a Charlestown police officer finally agrees to see a neurologist when his symptoms begin to affect his job performance Not only does his diagnosis change his life it also affects the lives of his wife Rosie and their four children who have a 50% chance of inheriting this incurable and crippling disease While this story explores the disease and its devastating impact on Joe it also through the perspectives of his children explores what it means to live a life at risk I loved getting to know the O’Brien’s with all their uirks and flaws I would have liked some deeper insight into the family’s relationships particularly between the two sisters Katie and Megan and Joe’s relationship with his own sister who moved across the country I wanted to know about what it was like for them growing up with a sick mother and not understanding what was wrong It must be difficult to watch a parent deteriorate from a disease knowing that there is a 50% chance a child may or may not get it Though predictive testing is available for those at risk for Huntington’s results from testing can have a major impact on every aspect of one’s life and the decision must be thought through carefully Lisa Genova does a wonderful job portraying the human personal side of Huntington’s disease and the difficulties surrounding the decision to be tested This is not the best fiction I’ve ever read The prose while not dazzling is light functional and accessible I cared deeply about the O’Brien’s and appreciate the author’s efforts to raise awareness about this rare neurogenetic disorder while avoiding excessive sentimentality and melodramaI very much look forward to her other novels I would like to thank Netgalley for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review Huntington's Disease is a cruel disease Once you're gene positive there's no way out of it The symptoms are terrible and will worsen over time I can only feel sympathy toward people who have this merciless disease As a future doctor it only pains me to see how hopeless this disease is right now but I have faith that one day there will be cure for this It's only a matter of timeWhile there are hundreds of books regarding romance with health resulting to death incorporated I believe that this novel aims to inform It's not supposed to make you feel light hearted but rather to inform you how serious this condition is There's a chapter in the end that provides a link wherein you can donate to help develop a cure I honestly don't think that was meant to be a gimmick because the author seems to exude genuine concern toward this matter It can also be seen in the acknowledgmentsSo enough with the disease awareness I'm now going to talk about the novel itself The perfect way for me to describe it would be that it was completely immersing The plot was very interesting and the characters are genuine and life like This novel is about a family with a father who has HD and a 50 50 chance of his children inheriting it It was interesting to read about the family's way of coping with the disease If the author was true to her word that she really did research on this interviewing actual victims then this novel is fantastic I don't want to spoil anything but all I can say is that I hated and loved the ending I want of this book It should've been longer I didn't want to part ways with the characters It feels like I still need time to read about their journey with HD I'll surely remember them for a very long time This is the only novel that truly made me feel like shit after reading Anything medicine related is a plus point for me in terms of enjoymentview spoiler The one which truly made me feel like shit would be JJ being gene positive He has a child and there's a 50 50 chance of that child inheriting it He didn't know so his fate was the cruelest one of them all Regarding Katie I normally would've been annoyed with all her confusion because it would seem like she's being unfair to everyone by making it look like she's the one who's suffering the most but in this case I also felt bad for her I believe I'd also be like her completely undecided on every life decision to make Joe was also really good to read about He's the one with the disease in progress so I got to see what the disease can do I can say this a million times but for me the gravity of it would never change HD is such a terrible disease It affects the people around the person with the disease especially his wife His wife who had to accept the fact that her 2 children and husband are HD positive and that her other 2 are also in danger hide spoiler 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’sJoe 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 uestions 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 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

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