A Touching Look at Huntington's Disease - Inside the O'Briens

Lisa Genova released her touching novel last year and in January 2016, Inside the O'Briens came out in paperback. The story follows Charlestown/Boston's O'Brien family as they cope with the recent diagnosis that patriarch Joe, a dedicated police officer, has Huntington's Disease. Given 10 to 20 years left to live, Joe is shattered, but he also feels he must remain strong for his wife, daughters, and sons.

The main plot of the story delves far beyond Joe. It goes into each child who has a 50/50 shot of having the gene that causes Huntington's. There's no so much more at stake. Do they get tested and know or avoid it and wait to see if the symptoms ever arrive. The decision is painful for all, especially for Katie, a 21 year old with dreams of owning her own yoga studio and a new romance that she wants to last.

Inside the O'Briens is not an easy read. The emotions you encounter for each character will have you laughing, crying, and crossing your fingers. The setting is very familiar to me. My husband is also a Red Sox fan, so Joe's passion for the team felt like home to me. The Boston-area setting was equally familiar. My only issue is that the book ended. I won't go into detail, but I'd love a follow up to their story because without one, I do feel a little let down.


  1. Thanks for the post. I read "Still Alice" before it was made into a movie. Lisa Genova is a gifted, sensitive writer.

    1. I've been tempted to see the movie, but I can't bring myself to see it. My mom doesn't have Alzheimer's, but she has what the doctor calls Mild Cognitive Impairment, and it's progressing faster than expected, even after he doubled and tripled the dosage of Alzheimer's medication. Dementia as a whole is too much a part of my daily life, so I've just been unable to watch it on the screen.


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