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. @ goodreads
Read from May 05 to 06, 2015
I would like to thank Netgalley and Gallery books for an opportunity to read this book.
I'm rating this book a 3.5 only because of the ending, it left me wanting to know what happened.
This book is so sad. I feel so bad for this family and all of the real families out there struggling with Huntington's Disease! To find out that you have a disease that is going to eventually kill you, but first stripping you of your motor function, all of your control is beyond devastating!
Joe is the dad of 4 children and he's married to Rosie. He's a Boston Cop. He starts doing some weird stuff that no one can understand. He gets very angry, forgets stuff, starts moving around weirdly both at home and at work. Rosie finally gets him to go to the doctor. He thinks it's his bum knee giving out and making him fall, etc. He doesn't understand the other stuff going on. They find out he has the dreaded HD and their world is shattered. He inherited it from his mom who was always called a drunk and carted off to the mental hospital, when in reality she had this horrible disease that finally killed her in that mental hospital. To make this even worse, they find out he could have transmitted the gene to the kids. They can all have tests to see if they have it. I feel so bad for Joe and Rosie.
Their kids are Katie, who wants to run her own Yoga Studio. Patrick, who is an idiot that just bums around. J.J., who is a firefighter and gets married to Colleen. And Meghan, who is a dancer at the Boston Ballet.
One of the children refuses to get tested. Two of them do and have the gene. And one goes around and around through the whole book about trying to find out or not. I mean I would be right down there getting it done. This is what has me mad at the ending, they finally decide to find out and we are not told!!!! I want to know, because they have two decisions they are making about their life depending on this diagnosis.
I don't want to give any spoilers out so I just want to say the story is really good. It's really sad and I very much enjoyed it accept for the end. I didn't enjoy the bad things, but I enjoyed getting to know the family, even though this particular one isn't real, but they are out there.
And I have to add that I love Yaz the dog. All dogs get a love in my reviews :)
I recommend this to anyone that likes stories that are based on real life tragedies, but see them for real people. 3.5 Stars