At forty, things are going well for Joe O’Brien, a Boston police officer. Life is far from perfect, living in a three floor walk-up with his wife Rosie and his four grown children Patrick, JJ, Meghan and Katie but he is happy and satisfied and making plans for a quiet, comfortable future surrounded by his tight-knit, loving family. When he starts experiencing strange and unexpected jerky movements in his legs and arms, the inability to complete his police reports and violent outbreaks at work and at home, he pays a visit to the doctor to placate Rosie. The diagnosis is devastating: Huntington’s disease, a fatal, hereditary neurological disease that affects a person’s mental and physical abilities.
What comes next can only be described as heart-shattering so make sure you have lots of tissues ready. Not only does this wonderful, devoted family have to deal with the progression of Joe’s symptoms but also make difficult decisions about the future of their own lives. Testing is available to Joe’s children, but how will the knowledge of having, or not having Huntington’s disease affect them? How do you live your life to its fullest when there is this horrible, ugly monster hiding around the corner?
Lisa Genova has again written a powerful, poignant and heartbreaking book about a family struggling with the unthinkable. As with her previous novels, in Inside the O’Briens, we get an intimate, up close view of the O’Brien family, of their pain, fear and anger. But all is not lost, and although this family has been dealt a horrible blow, Lisa Genova touchingly captures the sense of hope, love and resilience they still have in the face of this hardship.
Having read Still Alice and Left Neglected, I am always amazed and in awe of how Lisa Genova can at once educate and entertain the reader with her novels. Her passion comes though on every page, in every line and the stories she creates awaken that same passion in her readers. Inside the O’Briens is no exception and I urge you to get it at your local bookstore or library and read it. Spend a few hours in the company of the wonderful O’Brien family.
Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for providing me with an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.