Early in the book, Joe is diagnosed with Huntingtons disease, an inherited neurodegenerative disease characterized by a progressive loss of voluntary motor control and an increase in involuntary movements. HD is typically diagnosed between the ages of thirty-five and forty-five, proceeding inexorably to death in ten to twenty years. There is no treatment that affects the progression and no cure.
The author does an amazing job of making each diverse character relatable. I could empathize with Joe as he struggled with the disease and worried more about whether his children would inherit the chromosome and how to set an example for them of living and dying with HD. I also understood the dilemma the children faced when deciding whether to have the blood test to determine their HD diagnosis. Rosie's struggle to be the anchor for her family is also powerfully portrayed.
I especially liked the ending of the book. While I may not have had the conclusion to each character's journey, it was the perfect way to leave things.
Even though the story is a work of fiction, it was a very realistic portrayal of what many families must face in dealing with Huntingtons disease. I had no previous knowledge about HD and I'm grateful to the author for bringing attention to this disease.
Ultimately, I believe Katie O'Brien said it best, "Every breath is a risk. Love is why we breathe." I recommend putting Inside the O'Briens on your must read list. I received this book as part of the GoodReads First Reads program.