Inside the O'Briens

Inside the O'Briens

A Novel

Book - 2015
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From award-winning, New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist 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 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.
Publisher: New York :, Gallery Books,, ©2015.
ISBN: 9781476717777
Branch Call Number: FICTION GEN
Characteristics: 343 pages ; 22 cm.


From Library Staff

List - Welcome to the Family
Alena_T Feb 04, 2017

Sometimes it's the small victories within a family that make even the hardest life worth living.

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JCLColleenO Jul 06, 2017

Joe O'Brien is an officer for the Boston Police Department, husband to Rosie, and father to four offspring when he finds out the most devastating news of his life. He's gene positive for Huntington's Disease. After a few too many mishaps, sporadic movements, and out of character rampages, he is convinced by his wife to seek help. Joe becomes someone who is unable to control his movements, thinking, and behavior. His cognitive and motor skills will continue to decline until his untimely death. What's worse is that there is a 50% chance of passing this along to his children, and the children struggle with whether they want to take the test to find out. Inside the O'Briens explore how one Irish Catholic family tries to hold it all together while things seemingly fall apart. I loved reading about this family.

May 02, 2017

Good read by author of "Still Alice". Explores effects of H.D. on a contemporary Boston Family. Seems to be part of a new genre of "DNA" themed stories, like Still Alice, Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, etc.

Mar 16, 2017

A rich study in how each individual family member deals with a shocking diagnosis of an hereditary disease. Will he/she be tested? Then want to know the result? How do they cope with the distress of watching their husband and father deteriorate before their eyes? ~Debby

Mar 16, 2017

This is a really heart wrenching book to read. Huntington's disease is such a horrible disease the way it attacks the body and the person has no control over what is happening. It also hits so young. There is so little known about the disease especially since so few people have it, that no one understands the person walking down the street like they are drunk really aren't drunk. The fact that you lose the ability to speak and even swallow is so sad. The sadness that this is hereditary and can take out an entire family. This book is so well written. Lisa makes you care for the entire family. Some are a little frustrating and you want to smack them on the back of the head and some you want to hug. The way Joe handles his illness is wonderful. At first you see the shame and then he embraces it. I think this book is going to stay with me for a very like time, just like Still Alice has. If you liked Still Alice then you must read this book. It will open your eyes, break your heart and also warm your heart with how close knit the O'Brien family is.

Feb 10, 2017

Compelling story of a family dealing with Huntington's disease in multiple generation: from the protagonist experiencing symptoms and getting diagnosed to his realization that his mother had it to his children choosing whether or not to get tested for the gene. We get into the heads of both father and his youngest daughter, and Genova does a great job of making you care about the characters.

There was one writing choice that frustrated me, but I can see why the choice was made so I'm not docking any stars for it.

Jan 15, 2017

I've read Still Alice, Left Neglected and Inside the O'Brien's. Inside the O'Brien's is definitely the strongest story. This is the one that I will re-read at a slower pace. The novel is so gripping that I raced through it the first time through. Lisa Genova has a definite gift for writing. All the stories had the capability of the being "real downers" because of the subject matter. But because of the way she portrays the humanity of the characters, they are uplifting.

Sep 17, 2016

For lovers of realistic fiction, this is a wonderful story of a family and their struggles with a frightening diagnosis. Genova's medical knowledge is impressive, and she's a wonderful writer as well.

Aug 31, 2016

I have yet to be disappointed by Lisa Genova. This is the story of a family's experience with Huntington's disease. It kept me interested throughout, with good characters, and I learned along the way. Recommended

Jul 03, 2016

I loved the family dynamics in this story and how each person in the family confronted this horrible disease. I'd never read anything by this author before but I came away from it feeling like I understood Huntington's Disease and how it affects not only the person with the disease but the people around them as well.

Apr 27, 2016

Quick read about a family who unknowingly have Huntington's disease. Joe was always told his mother drank herself to death but when he is diagnosed with HD he thinks back and realizes this is not true. Now his family must cope not only with his illness, which has physical and mental aspects, but each of the four adult children have a 50-50 chance of developing it and have the option of genetic testing to know for sure. A lot of readers were upset that Katie's genetic results are not revealed, however I thought that was ok. It think it showed that she had finally learned that she would not live her life too differently no matter the results. We all know our lives will end, people who know they will develop HD just know more details.

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Aug 23, 2015

A cop learns that he has Huntington's disease. He has to deal with his changing body as well as the fact that he may have passed the disease on to his grown children.
I absolutely LOVE Lisa Genova's novels and this one definitely doesn't disappoint!!


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Jun 10, 2015

Coarse Language: profanity throughout

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