Wednesday, April 8, 2015


With Still Alice shining brightly in all of its Oscar winning glory, I was very grateful and excited to read Genova’s newest novel, Inside the O’Briens. Once again, she has used her vast knowledge of nerve-related health issues, coming from her PhD in Neuroscience from Harvard, to create a novel that touches the hearts of all who read it. Joe O’Brien is your average Boston cop; he loves spending time with his family and helping his community in any way he can. Of course, when he isn’t working, he’s watching the Red Sox on TV. One day, Joe notices his body making movements without his control and his temper becomes ferocious. Soon after, Joe is told he has Huntington’s disease.

Huntington’s disease changes everything for the O’Briens. All of Joe’s 4 children are faced with a terrifying choice of finding out whether they are positive for the Huntington’s gene. Each child has a 50% chance of inheriting the disease. When faced with such a decision, it’s hard to say what you would do. Of course it’s easy to say “Oh yeah, I would totally find out” when it’s all theoretical. Genova does a perfect job of going into the reasoning behind each of Joe’s kids’ choice. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of other Lisa Genova books; it will not disappoint, I assure you. Inside the O’Briens is a heart-wrenching story of a family who just wants to survive through a devastating ordeal. I strongly suggest that this book finds a permanent place on your bookshelf. 

Wesley Wilson is a zoology student at the University of Guelph and works on campus at a microbiology lab. When Wesley isn’t studying away, she spends most of her time reading.

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