This New York Times and USA Today bestseller from Lisa Genova is a powerful and transcendent new novel about a family struggling with the impact of Huntington’s disease.
Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease.
Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing?
As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.
Praised for writing that “explores the resilience of the human spirit” (The San Francisco Chronicle), Lisa Genova has once again delivered a novel as powerful and unforgettable as the human insights at its core.Read an excerpt from Inside the O'Briens
We’re delighted to visit with Lisa Genova today as she shares about her latest novel, INSIDE THE O’BRIENS. Newly released in paperback, it is another heartbreaking, illuminating, beautiful look at a life-altering disease. If you loved STILL ALICE, you’ll adore this one as well.Read More
When Joe O’Brien, a devoted father, husband, and veteran Boston police officer, begins to experience the disorienting symptoms of Huntington’s disease, he isn’t prepared for a diagnosis nor its life-altering impact on each of his four children and their children. This “gut-wrenching and memorable read…of the disintegration and rebuilding of a family in the face of a horrible illness” is another triumph for the talented Genova.Read More
Huntington's disease isn't on the public radar like AIDS, cancer and heart disease. Aside from folk singer Woodie Guthrie, who died of the disease in 1967, Huntington's has no celebrity tie-in, no sexy spokespersons, telethons or million dollar media campaigns to raise awareness and fund research. Until now.Read More
Lisa Genova, the brain behind Alzheimer's best-seller Still Alice knows that the particular organ well. She has a Ph.D in neuroscience from Harvard and uses it to write gripping fiction about people struggling with terrible illnesses.Read More
Inside the O’Briens, by Lisa Genova. This novel of siblings rocked by their father’s Huntington’s disease is a total tearjerker, but ultimately it’s a tribute to family love.Read More
My first year out of college, I worked as a lab technician in a neurobiology lab at Massachusetts General Hospital East researching drug addiction. I was 22 years old in February 1993 when the scientists down the hall began celebrating, puncturing the typically austere bubble of this neuroscience research floor with big emotion. I remember pausing, my pipette hovering ready in hand, waiting for the details of whatever this exciting news was to reach me. I could feel it coming like a wave.Read More
Huntington's is a disease very much bound up in family ties. It's an inherited condition. If your parent has Huntington's, then you have a fifty-fifty chance of developing it too. And so in families where Huntington's is present, the disease looms large. That's certainly the case in the fictional O'Brien family, in a new novel by Lisa Genova. You may know Lisa Genova from her previous bestsellers including her debut novel "Still Alice." That was a story centered on early onset Alzheimer's, and since then her books have focused on other neurological disorders, including autism and Left Neglect.Read More
Lisa Genova's improbable journey from neuroscientist to hit novelist includes a storybook scene right out of fiction: sitting at the Academy Awards in joyful tears, watching Julianne Moore win an Oscar for Still Alice
"It is beyond surreal that it all happened," says Genova, 44, who self-published Still Alice in 2007 and sold the book out of her car trunk when she couldn't interest a literary agent.Read More
Inside the O’Briens, a novel by Lisa Genova, takes readers into the uprooted lives of a family struggling to deal with a lethal disease. While Joe tries to cope with his rapidly declining health, his children struggle to decide if they should learn what the future holds for each of them, too.Read More
Is Lisa Genova the new Jodi Picoult? We think so. Following on from Still Alice (now an Oscar-winning film starring Julianne Moore), Genova’s latest focuses on another debilitating illness: Huntington’s disease.Read More
The success of “Still Alice” has given Chatham resident and author Lisa Genova a platform, and she intends to use it. Her new novel, “Inside the O’Briens” (Simon & Schuster, $26), available April 7, explores Huntington’s disease through the experiences of a fictional Charlestown family. “I’m fortunate enough now to have a readership,” Genova told the Herald. “I wanted to write about Huntington’s. Not a lot of people know about it.”Read More
“Genova...compassionately details how an illness—this time Huntington's disease—can destroy not only the afflicted, but those who love them as well. ”
— Kim Hubbard, People Magazine
“INSIDE THE O'BRIENS is also about resilience and hope.”
— Book Reporter
“An unsparing, heart-piercing portrait…compelling…enlightening.”
— Washington Post
“Compelling and masterful.”
— NY Journal of Books
“A gut-wrenching and memorable read.”
— Library Journal. Starred review.
"This heartbreaking book tells the whole story of how a major illness affects a family. Genova’s gift is to show that things do work out, in a sense. Her very human novel teaches us to keep living, to lean on each other and be there to be leaned on.”
–Matthew Thomas, author of WE ARE NOT OURSELVES
"Lisa Genova’s deep empathy for her characters shines through this poignant and uplifting story about family, grief and the resilience of the human spirit. Kudos to this amazing writer for showing us—once again—the transformative powers of even the most devastating events. Do not miss this fabulous novel."
--Barbara Shapiro, author of THE MURALIST and THE ART FORGER
"For the characters in a Lisa Genova novel, there is no way out, for genetic destiny has sealed their fate. And yet, for us as readers, there also is no way out, for we have no desire to look away. In his fear and courage, Joe O’Brien is an American hero. Huntington’s disease will claim his life, but not his capacity to love. This is Genova’s genius. A bold, skillful writer at the height of her narrative powers, she makes us long to hope for the hopeless and comfort the condemned. In their hard journeys, we find the small shining promise of every single ordinary day."
- Jacquelyn Mitchard, author THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN and TWO IF BY SEA
"Lisa Genova’s subtle, finely tuned prose gains momentum until you don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or give thanks. Like all of her work, Inside the O’Briens is brimming with candor, pathos, and deeply human characters. I didn't want the book to end!"
- Vanessa Diffenbaugh, author of THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS and WE NEVER ASKED FOR WINGS