INSIDE the O’BRIENS by Lisa Genova, author of STILL ALICE


“I don’t know, it’s like you’re not you. You’re always so fidgety, and you’re late all the time and you never used to be. And your temper, your temper -” Rose, Joe’s wife

In Lisa Genova’s, INSIDE THE O’BRIENS, Joe O’Brien is a proud Irish Catholic Boston Police Officer, married to Rose, father of four, living in the same Charleston neighborhood with other townies he grew up with. He goes to work, pays his taxes, pops into the bar occasionally for a couple of beers with his friends, life is predictable until Rose starts noticing Joe is off his game – dropping things, shaking, quick to anger. Rather than confront Joe, Rose has one of his fellow cops tell him she’s worried. Joe resists, but doesn’t want to upset his Rosie, so he agrees to see a doctor. The prognosis is not good.

Huntington’s Disease (HD): A neurodegenerative disease with no treatment or cure. Progressive loss of voluntary motor control and an increase in voluntary movements. Symptons include loss of balance, falling, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing and chorea.

Joe’s disease is a shock to the whole family. His symptoms eventually deteriorate so badly, he loses his job on the force and most of his pension. Each of Joe’s four children have a 50% chance of having HD. His children rally around him while weighing the pros and cons to get tested themselves. It’s the story of a family used to coming together to rally and fight any adversity, but this time, up against a complete unknown and frightened for the future. It’s a story of love and commitment. Ultimately its all about paying attention to every moment of living and not dying; your quality of life depending on the thoughts you choose.

It may sound like a cliché, but Lisa’s novels remind me to embrace every moment as if its my last, because it just might be. Turn to someone you love and hug that person and tell he or she how much you care right now.

Thanks to NetGalley http://www.netgalley and Simon and Schuster for providing a kindle copy of INSIDE THE O’BRIENS for an honest review. Check out for all things LISA.


There’s also an organization for kids @


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