Inside the O'Briens

A Novel

Inside the O'Briens

Read by: Skipp Sudduth
  • 1
From award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Lisa Genova comes a powerful new novel that does for Huntington’s Disease what her debut Still Alice did for Alzheimer’s.

Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old Boston police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, a proud father of four children in their twenties, and a respected, seasoned law enforcement officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to aging and the cumulative physical and psychological 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 that affects the progression and no cure. And it is genetic. 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 their potential future in their father’s escalating symptoms, each child struggles with the questions this test imposes on their young adult lives, including his youngest, twenty-one-year-old Katie. 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, he struggles to maintain his identity and sense of purpose. How can he find hope in a situation that feels hopeless? How can he find courage without any armor or weapons? What else might he be able to pass down to his children other than a fatal disease? Where is the honor in living and dying with Huntington’s? Each family member must reach deep inside, reexamine their values and the relationships that matter most as they learn to lead lives not defined by fear, but instead, by love.

Praised for writing that “explores the resilience of the human spirit” (The San Francisco Chronicle), Lisa Genova has once again established her talent with Inside the O’Briens, a novel as powerful and unforgettable as the human insights at its core.
  • Simon & Schuster Audio | 
  • ISBN 9781442382503 | 
  • April 2015
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Inside the O’Briens includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Lisa Genova. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

 

Introduction

As a police officer from an Irish Catholic neighborhood in Boston, Joe O’Brien has always prided himself on his self-control. And with four adult kids still living under his roof, he needs it. There’s JJ, the upstanding fireman hoping to start his own family; Patrick, the rowdy bartender; Meghan, the accomplished but uptight ballet dancer; and Katie, the restless yoga instructor just trying to get them all to take her seriously. Joe loves being their rock, but when he begins to experience bouts of disorganized thinking, temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements, his fiercely protective wife, Rosie, drags him to a neurologist. There, they are handed a diagnosis that will change their family forever: Huntington’s disease.

Each of the O’Brien children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting this lethal neurodegenerative disease. A simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. As Katie observes the devastating symptoms in her once invincible father escala see more

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About the Author

Lisa Genova
credit to Greg Mentzer

Lisa Genova

Lisa Genova is the New York Times bestselling author of Inside the O'Briens, Love Anthony, Left Neglected, and Still Alice. Her first novel, Still Alice, has been adapted into a film starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, and Kristen Stewart. Lisa graduated valedictorian from Bates College with a degree in biopsychology and holds a PhD in neuroscience from Harvard University. She travels worldwide speaking about Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and autism. She has appeared on Dr. Oz, The Diane Rehm Show, CNN, Chronicle, Fox News, and Canada AM and is featured in the Emmy Award–winning documentary film To Not Fade Away. She lives with her family in Massachusetts.

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