Thomas's Reviews > Left Neglected

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
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's review
Jan 19, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: adult-fiction, realistic-fiction
Read from February 02 to 04, 2011

I felt intellectual while indulging in Lisa Genova's latest novel, Left Neglected. I wish my chemistry textbook was as interesting as this book, maybe then I'd be more inclined to actively participate in class.

Anyway, reading this book was a vicarious experience. It is about a self-proclaimed overachiever, Sarah Nickerson. She manages a position as vice president of a prominent consulting company as well as her husband and three kids. This Harvard graduate suffers from an overbooked schedule, but still strives for success despite the strain placed upon her. One fateful day, an unexpected car accident completely erases her ability to process anything on her left side - she even loses the capability to move her left arm and leg. Now Sarah must climb an entirely different mountain; one that doesn't detail spread sheets or coworkers, but regaining half of her entire world.

In Driver's Education today, my teacher had students wear vision-impairing goggles and attempt to pass a mock sobriety test. The probable purpose of this lesson was to show the negative effects of impairment through illegal substances, but the entire time, I was thinking about Left Neglected. I struggled saliently when I wore the goggles for about two minutes - I could not walk in a straight line, keep my balance, or throw a ball accurately to someone two feet away from me. When I finally removed the goggles, a sense of relief flooded through me.

But what if I had to keep the goggles on? Permanently, instead of ephemerally? Even worse, what if I lost half of my whole vision irrevocably?

That is what Sarah must deal with, a frightening disorder called Left Neglect. This book was not as intensely depressing as I assumed it to be, however - there are prevalent poignant moments where Sarah's recovery truly touched me. She goes from being averse to wasting even a minute of the day, and then being forced to receive help while doing daily tasks such as dressing and eating.

I not only learned about Left Neglect by reading this book, but the effect it has on people. I am already awaiting Genova's next great book.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Susan (the other Susan) Brain injury terrifies me. Have you read The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat? All true stories about brain disorders by the psychiatrist who wrote Awakenings. It's where I first learned about the inability to form new memories that is the core theme of the movie Memento.

Brains are just rattling around in our skulls where anything can happen to them. Yikes almighty.

Thomas Yes, as I get older and learn more about neuroscience and the brain, I have come to appreciate its healthy functioning so much more. Thank you for your recommendation of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Susan.

Susan (the other Susan) It's terrifying, Thomas. I had to set it aside a few times. I must have a bit of hypochondria in me, because I kept thinking "I could get that."

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