One of the things I liked about Still Alice, which is a book about Alzheimer’s, was the way the author used the POV of the ill person to show the reader things that the character was unaware of. We could see the deterioration of her mind more strongly than she could, and that was a powerful way to express the results of the particular disease.
Something I didn’t like though, was that the character and her family were all highly educated people with well paid jobs, who are placed pretty well to deal with such a diagnosis.
There have been a few other stories dealing with life changing illness, where the characters are all similarly educated and well off (academics, doctors, successful business owners). It always makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. Where are the stories about everyone else?
Is it because it simplifies the story if you don’t have to include money worries or characters who struggle to understand what the diagnosis really means? Or is there some kind of inherent sense that these people have more to lose?
In Still Alice it was easy to show the progress of Alice’s illness because she was a person who was defined by her work and that work had a lot to do with communication. But her access to specialists and her family’s ability to support her probably don’t represent most people’s experience of the disease. Though, I’d like to think that’s less true where I live than in the country the book takes place in.
Maybe it’s a character choice that reflects the type of audience or even the type of author?