Inside the O'Briens, A Novel, by Lisa Genova


First paragraph: “Huntington’s Disease is an inherited neurodegenerative disease characterized by a progressive loss of voluntary motor control and an increase in involuntary movements. Initial physical symptoms may include a loss of balance, reduced dexterity, falling chorea, slurred speech, and difficulty swallowing……..There is no treatment that affects progression and no cure.”

Lisa Genova is an author of several books dealing with debilitating diseases. Joe O’Brien is Irish and a third-generation tough cop who has a good marriage and 4 children. The disease is coming for him and another serious concern is which of the children will it come for and have the gene passed to?

We see the progression and challenges from Joe and his 21 year old daughter perspective. Joe and his wife worry all the children struggle. Their life changes. Relationships, the job, and finances change. Mood swings, suicidal thoughts, and exhaustion are not just part of a story. You feel it, and it is as if this is happening to you and your family.

Understanding of this disease is expanded by this book and the author skillfully brings the challenges of the events and feelings of all involved together to help accomplish that goal


Lisa Genova writes about debilitating diseases. The stories are heartbreaking. You may ask yourself why is the story of value? The value is clearly that you understand what it is like to suffer from these diseases.

Inside the O'Briens Quotes

As they lurch down the hallway and finally make it to the kitchen, it occurs to Joe that this is the best anyone can hope for in life. Someone you love to stagger through the hard times with.” 

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” 

“Fenway seats just over thirty-seven thousand, about the same number of people as have Huntington’s in the United States. Thirty-seven thousand. It’s a faceless number,”