Apr 072015
 
Review: Inside the O’BriensInside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova
Published by Gallery Books on Apr 7, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Format: eARC from Netgalley
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

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.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The crying! Oh, the crying this book caused! I read this all in one day, in one sitting even, and there were so many times I had to pause to wipe away the tears so I could see the page.

This is such an emotional story. It gives you a front row seat to how Huntington’s Disease destroys a person’s life, and everyone around them. It’s extremely painful to witness, especially since there is absolutely nothing that can be done to halt or slow the disease.

This story is told primarily from Joe and Katie’s points of view. They are the father and youngest daughter, the victim and the potential victim. It was absolutely heart wrenching to witness the fear, sorrow and anger that everyone in the book faced.

Overall, just thinking about the story makes me want to cry. It was so emotional. The story gives a very real, very sad look at Huntington’s Disease, and it’s amazing read. Just be prepared with a box of tissues or two, because you’re going to need them.

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