Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Review: Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Sarah Nickerson is like any other career-driven supermom in Welmont, the affluent Boston suburb where she leads a hectic but charmed life with her husband Bob, faithful nanny, and three children—Lucy, Charlie, and nine-month-old Linus. Between recruiting the best and brightest minds as the vice president of human resources at Berkley Consulting; shuttling the kids to soccer, day care, and piano lessons; convincing her son’s teacher that he may not, in fact, have ADD; and making it home in time for dinner, it’s a wonder this over-scheduled, over-achieving Harvard graduate has time to breathe.

 A self-confessed balloon about to burst, Sarah miraculously manages every minute of her life like an air traffic controller. Until one fateful day, while driving to work and trying to make a phone call, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In the blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her jam-packed life come to a screeching halt.

A traumatic brain injury completely erases the left side of her world, and for once, Sarah relinquishes control to those around her, including her formerly absent mother. Without the ability to even floss her own teeth, she struggles to find answers about her past and her uncertain future.

Now, as she wills herself to regain her independence and heal, Sarah must learn that her real destiny—her new, true life—may in fact lie far from the world of conference calls and spreadsheets. And that a happiness and peace greater than all the success in the world is close within reach, if only she slows down long enough to notice.

ebook, 324 pages 
Published January 4th 2011 
by Gallery Books (first published 2011)
audiobook via OverDrive (library)

Lisa Genova's first book Still Alice was the first book I polished off pretty well in one night. Then came Inside the O'Brien's, which was another emotional story.   Reason only dictated that I would continue reading her books.  This was an audio read for me and given the first person narrative it worked great.

I don't think it was high expectations here that made me feel this one lacked the emotional impact I had come to expect. As you can read above there is a lot going on here, there are many layers to this story and I struggled to connect with the characters like in previous books.  The author used the first 20% introducing this family and letting the reader get a good glimpse of what life for the Nickerson family was like.  I found it rather dizzy and sad.  Sarah has so much going that I was exhausted for her.

This book is told from Sarah's point of view and while I found that interesting and did feel sympathy for her situation it was hard to like her.  Sarah's world revolved around Sarah.  I don't mean to sound harsh and make this sound like a terrible story.  I found the injury interesting and a condition that I have never heard of before, the treatment and living with Left Neglect would be difficult not just for the patient but family and friends as well. That being said it would really have been nice to hear Bob's side of this story, to know his thoughts and feelings.  The ending was predictable which isn't a bad thing, sometimes its unavoidable. 

There are things that resonates with me here, the first being put your phone away when driving, so many lives are destroyed because of them.  This story is a sad reminder that life can change just like that and we should living accordingly. 

1 comment:

  1. I felt the same way. 'Still Alice' remains my favourite book of Genova's still. Even 'Inside The O'Briens' wasn't as impactful to me (I found 'Five Days Left' by J Lawson Timmer a much more emotional story about the same issue). I need to connect with the characters and unfortunately that doesn't always happen. Great review, Margaret. :)