Inside the O’Briens
Why we love it!Another heartbreaker from Lisa Genova, this book had us hooked from the moment we picked it up to its devastating but ultimately uplifting conclusion. It’s about human courage in the face of the most terrible adversity and the power of love and family to conquer all.Joe O’Brien is a tough Boston cop, Irish Catholic and sports fanatic, raising four kids with his loving wife Rosie. One day, he notices something not quite right as his own body betrays him with jerky, involuntary movements and sudden temper outbursts; symptoms he would have ignored if not for Rosie’s concern.When he’s diagnosed with the cruel and fatal Huntington’s disease, it’s not just for Joe that the family is devastated. The disease is genetic, with a 50 per cent chance of it being passed on to Joe’s children. Who else in the family is living under a death sentence? Joe and Rosie must live with the horror that one or all of their four children – and grandchildren – could have the deadly gene. His grown-up kids must face the awful dilemma of whether to take the simple test and find out their fate – or to simply wait and see.Award-winning author and neuroscientist Lisa Genova delivered a realistic and devastating portrayal of an Alzheimer’s sufferer in Still Alice, which became an acclaimed movie (for which Julianne Moore took the 2015 Academy Award in the title role). Now Genova takes us down a similar path with Huntingdon’s disease in Inside the O’Briens.We became immersed in the life of the O’Briens, especially Joe and Rosie and their youngest daughter, 21-year-old Katie. We can scarcely believe that one family could have such bad luck, and while this is fiction, Genova has based her research on many real life Huntington’s sufferers. As heartrending as it is, we loved getting to know the characters of this unlucky but immensely likeable family and didn’t want this book to end.