Joe O’Brien and his wife Rosie are living the lives they have chosen in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Joe is a police officer, his wife is the keeper of the home and the flame of faith and hope for the family. Irish Catholics, they believe in family and church and the neighborhood. Their four children, JJ, Patrick, Meghan, and Katie, are grown and looking forward to bright futures. They all live together in a triple decker home.

But like a time bomb that explodes unexpectedly, something is going on in Joe’s body, causing him to drop things, fidget constantly, and lose his temper often. He is only forty-four years old, so the possibility of something wrong has never occurred to him…until now.

When Joe and Rosie receive the diagnosis of Joe’s Huntington’s Disease, they also learn that each of their four children has a 50/50 chance of carrying the gene; and if they do, they will develop the disease.

Inside the O’Briens: A Novel is an engaging story of one family coming to grips with the potential for a devastating disease, even while the head of their family struggles with the effects of the disease on his own life.

We follow the journey of each family member, mostly from Joe’s perspective, and occasionally from Katie’s. As each grown child grapples with the decision of “to know, or not to know,” they also begin to realize that, in life, you are “now here…or nowhere.”

Inspirational and encouraging, despite the dark potential that lurks, we can feel that living each day in the moment is the best defense against giving in. 5 stars.


    • Thanks for stopping by, Cleopatra…I always feel a bit apprehensive when approaching a book like this, but I enjoyed how the author managed to make us focus on some positives (family togetherness) as well as the negatives.


  1. I love the way Lisa Genova takes such dark topics and makes us see the people behind the disease. That is her gift, I think. Putting a face to an awful diagnosis. I really enjoyed this book.


  2. I’ve seen this book around a bit and have been wondering what it was about and if it had an Irish connection so thanks for filling me in! That’s a very intense plotline, maybe a little bit too much for me. Glad you enjoyed it so much though.


  3. I loved it, moving, intense, devastating but there was so much more to the story than HD. The ending … love/hate. Part of me wanted to see it in writing lol, Wonderful review


    • Yes, the book was definitely so much more, and I loved it too. The ending, though…I wanted it all spelled out, too….the hopeful ending that I was anticipating.

      Thanks for stopping by, Teddyree, and I found myself so invested in what was happening with the grown kids.


  4. Great review – I’m glad to see you gave it 5 stars! I know I’m going to have to be in the mood to read a book like this. I have it for when that mood strikes!


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