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review 2021-04-21 04:45
Inside the O'Briens: A Novel - Lisa Genova

Joe is a Boston cop who learns he has Huntington's Disease, a hereditary disease that can be passed on to his children. This is how they deal with it.


I enjoyed this story. While the disease is serious, there is humor here as well. Joe and Rosie, his wife, do their best to raise their children to be responsible adults but there are bumps along the way. The family works together to learn about this disease and the aftermath of it. The kids do their best to help but they have to live their lives and make decisions made more difficult by Huntington's. I really like Katie, their youngest. She seems more involved than the rest of the kids.


Joe also thinks back on his mother and realizes what he was told and what he believed about her were not true and he has to reorganize his thoughts about her. His memories come as he works out his truth about her.


Skipp Sudduth does a fantastic job narrating this book. I felt like I was there in that home and family. I want to get more of his narrations. I also want to read more of Lisa Genova. She makes you feel that you are part of the story.

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review 2014-12-26 20:59
Inside the O'Briens
Inside the O'Briens: A Novel - Lisa Genova

By Lisa Genova

ISBN: 9781476717777
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: 4/7/2015
Format: Other Format
My Rating: 5 Stars ++


One of my favorite authors, Lisa Genova, award-winning New York Times bestselling author, and neuroscientist is at the "top-of-her-game" with riveting, INSIDE THE O'BRIENS. An extraordinary story and one you will not soon forget, long after the book ends.

Meet the O’Briens. A strong Irish Catholic family in Charlestown, a neighborhood of Boston only one square mile between Charles and Mystic Rivers, divided into two neighborhoods. The Bottom of the Hill – the poor Irish and the Top of the Hill by St. Francis Church home to the Lace Curtain Irish. Many of the families live in tight rows of triple decker homes called Townies and they all know one another.

Joe and Rosie live on the first floor, son- twenty-three year old Patrick lives with them. JJ, the older son and his wife Colleen live on the second floor, and single daughters Katie and Meghan are roommates and live on the third floor, and of course lovable dog, Yaz. However, this happy family is about to have their world crushed, with news which will forever change their lives.

Father: Joe O’Brien, third generation, Irish. Police officer, a tough guy, age 43, dad of four, husband, loves his beer, family, work and his sports. His mother died of HD (except he just thought she was a drunk and crazy at the time). He is about to face the horrific disease. There is a fifty-percent chance it can passed along if the gene is present and it will not be pretty. What will happen if he can no longer be the strong one of the family?

Mother: Rosie, wife and mother of four, loves her weekly family Sunday suppers. She is a devoted Irish Catholic - religious. All her children still reside in the family home on different floors and would do anything for her family, but do not be late for Sunday supper. Can she survive being the caretaker and watch her family fall apart in front of her? Will her strong faith be tested?

JJ: Son, A firefighter, and husband to Coleen, a devoted man and expecting a child on the way. Will his future be secure or will he have the gene? What about this family?

Megan: Daughter. Beautiful and talented professional ballet dancer with the Boston Ballet with a rigorous schedule. A hard worker and Katie is quite envious of her. She is full of life. Could this disease get to her?

Katie: Daughter. Teaches yoga, the baby girl, and feels a little left out and not quite as smart as her older sister; always living in her shadow. She would love to move away from this town, meet a guy, and have her own yoga studio; however, she barely makes enough to survive. She loves her job and loves her inspiratinal quotes written all over her walls – and now she has a love interest she is keeping from the family. Could she have the disease? If so, does she want to know and how will it change her relationship and future?

Patrick: Son. Young, single, wild and crazy. A bartender at the local pub, stays out all night partying, dates around, and not very dependable (however, keeps lively humor going in the family). He is always late to family supper, but charming in his own way. He definitely does not want to have the test to see if he has the HD gene (he would rather jump off a bridge).

An emotional, and compelling story of a family wrecked by HD. From the fears, pain, denial, sadness to love, coping, escape, to acceptance. The scene with Katie and Joe was award-winning the way she took control and gave her dad the most important message of love to keep him strong as a role model for them all – and the yoga interaction was priceless! (Loved the t-shirts, and the humor mixed with the tragedy, to keep you smiling and crying at the same time).

An engaging thought-provoking story, a page-turner which grips you from beginning to end. No one can tell it like, Lisa Genova. Thank you for telling this incredible story. On a personal note, I dated a guy several years ago in Atlanta and his father had HD. I saw firsthand, the devastation and destruction, both emotional and physical which wrecked havoc on everyone in the family and loved ones—heartbreaking.

Genova tackles highly charged HD-Huntington's Disease with love, compassion, incredible insights, understanding, emotion, research, compassion, and humor.

Call to Action: In addition to creating compassionate awareness of the disease HD, Lisa has created a call to action, by requesting every reader to make a donation to the HD Human Biology Project, an innovative research project aimed at understanding the biology of Huntington’s which is necessary for discovering the course. Together we can be part of the progress that will lead to the cure of one of the cruelest diseases known to man, and currently no treatment and no cure.

If you loved Still Alice, Left Neglected, and Love Anthony; Inside the O'Briens (have read all of her books), tops the chart and will exceed all your expectations! Highly recommend! If you have not read Genova' previous books, you are missing out.

Would love to be a visitor for the O'Briens' Sunday night weekly suppers-what a strong family bond.



Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1109605031
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review 2014-05-31 01:33
Me Without You
Me Without You - Kelly Rimmer


By Kelly Rimmer 

ISBN: 9781909490376

Publisher:  Bookouture

Publication Date:  June 6, 2014 

Format: e-book 

My Rating:  4 Stars  


A powerful heartwarming story of love and loss. Kelly Rimmer has a created a winner, with her eloquent writing style, as she speaks from the heart, with raw emotions from different points of view.

An engaging and emotional journey of the power of love---one you will not soon forget. ME WITHOUT YOU reminds me of Sweet November, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, and Me Before You.

Fans of Jodi Picoult, Jane Green, or Nicholas Sparks will be captivated by Australian author, Kelly Rimmer, as highly-charged topics and real issues of the heart such as genetic disease, illegal treatment, family, personal growth, living vs. dying, suicide, grief, sadness, joy, sorrow, heartbreak, relationships, love, and more for a roller coaster ride. 

A powerful novel of depth and substance----so much more than a love story or romance. I would highly recommend to women and men, of all ages, especially ones with loved ones suffering from any terminal illness, or possibly caretakers.

Lilah, is an independent woman, a quirky vegan (so am I), an environmental lawyer, a free spirit—living her life to the fullest. She likes to be barefoot to feel the earth (you later learn why).

Callum,(Cal) is a workaholic, marketing professional, (metrosexual) making no time for social life or family. Total opposites-- with a growing chemistry between this mismatched pair, as they learn from one another. 

Lilah realizes their relationship will not be long term and plans to break it off, but the longer it continues, the deeper the feelings. Tomorrow is always the day. They begin to learn each other’s habits, likes, and dislikes. She takes it one day at a time, when Cal wants to discuss longer term. They know each other secrets –all but ONE. 

Lilah has an in town apartment in Manly, near his apartment, and a stunning secret retreat in Gosford on the beach. The farm is her inner sanctuary-- Where she goes to rest, celebrate, grieve, and lick her wounds.

What you do not learn in the first half of the book, is the reason she guards her heart. Lilah has a genetic DNA problem, HD Huntington’s disease, and by a chance miracle, she has been in remission for five years. Readers will learn of her former relationship with another guy with HD which she met at a clinic---he died shortly after an illegal treatment and she actually has been going great—until now. Cal is the first real guy she has fallen for. 

Prior to the symptoms which will begin to occur, she desires to end their relationship, as she wants Cal to remember her the way she is presently. The second half of the book, is much more of an intense page-turner, so do not give up when you start reading. 

Lilah has a wonderful supportive mom, Petra (I liked). Her dad died of Huntington’s disease, when she was twelve, so her mom has been through this previously, and tried to keep Lilah away at her grandmother’s at the end. Lilah knows firsthand, how devastating this disease can be, its progress, and what to expect--and the burden it puts on loved ones. 

It is almost like she wants to be exposed with Cal. It a delicious game of cat and mouse and she knows she will get caught. She really desires for him to know the real her, or as much of her as he possibly can with the time they may have together, but she is unsure she can subject him to this life.

She finally winds up taking him home to meet her mom. Whenever things ends, she wants him to remember her there, safe within her sanctuary, fully alive and fully herself. 

Lilah’s home is the quintessential Australian beach home, (can envision), without any flair or fanfare, right down to the deep blue weatherboard exterior and white trim. The one outstanding feature of the property is the orchard and market organic garden that Leon and Nancy tends for her. 

Neither of them, are looking for a commitment, but they are falling deeply in love and they will find their love can withstand anything. This novel will keep you crying and laughing, as you bookmark pages for parts would want to remember. Their journey is so special, as even though she pushed him away to save him, he loved her enough to be there.

Loved this quote from Cal:
“The danger in self-deception is the hunger afterward. It commands a sense of loss, a gap inside that just can’t be satisfied. I knew love, and it changed me, and I found a new baseline of happiness that I won’t ever experience again. I’ve moved from a Technicolor world back, into a black-and-white one, and while I never thought to question black-and-white before, I realize now what I’m missing—if only there was another way.”


“I sank further into myself and wondered how I was supposed to pull myself out of the hole she’d left me in and get back to life again. Life became about getting through one more day. There would be a scar there that was a part of me now, because at last I understood what it was I’d been missing.

A well-written beautiful novel. So many reviewers have not discussed her illness, nor is it disclosed on the summary; however, I feel this is a key factor, as why I chose to read the book. It is not a spoiler, it is more of an enhancement, similar to the books and movies I noted above.

This emotional journey is very inspiring, demonstrating the true feelings of one with an illness, and the life lessons learned as their lives affect others.  My mom has recently discovered she has colon cancer and secondary liver cancer,  now taking chemo and dad with stage one leukemia.  This read was very insightful for me during this time of intense feelings- of fear and helplessness for those you love and hold dear.  A True Love Story! 

Huntington's disease is an inherited disease that causes the progressive breakdown (degeneration) of nerve cells in the brain. Huntington's disease has a broad impact on a person's functional abilities and usually results in movement, thinking (cognitive) and psychiatric disorders. 


A special thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/920501973
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