Book Review: Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
December 10, 2011 28 Comments
I did enjoy this book at least as much as Still Alice. Another woman with a serious problem. While in Still Alice the main character was suffering from Alzheimer, in Left Neglected it’s left neglect, a condition in which the patient does not see things on the left side of objects, although they are not aware that there is something missing.
I knew about this condition from my psychology degree which made it even more interesting to read the book.
Left Neglected: What it is about
Sarah Nickerson is a hard-working Human Resources manager. Hard working is an understatement given the amount of hours she puts in, and the little time she has available for her husband Bob and their three children, the youngest nine months old.
She fills up every spare moment with checking her email or making a quick phone call. One day in the car, she has an accident as she focuses more on her phone than the road in front of her. She has a head injury and turns out to have developed left neglect.
So, while she thinks she sees everything that’s around her, she doesn’t notice the food on the left side of her plate, people suddenly pop up in her field of vision (they turned out to have been on the left side of the room), and she draws only the right side of faces, thinking she drew the whole face.
In the book, which is partially a hospital story, she has to learn to live with her disability and work on diminishing its effects on her life. She slowly starts to wonder whether she will ever be able to get back in the fast lane of her life as a HR manager or whether she needs to find a new direction in her life.
Left Neglected: What I thought
I didn’t like Sarah to start with, and in the end, I liked her a bit. She wasn’t the most pleasant main character to spend time with, but her affliction and the story around her was very interesting and made for a very good read.
The book is written in the first person and at times, I forgot this was fiction and not a memoir. It was so real! Lisa Genova explains so well and illustrates so well what it’s like to live with left neglect (at least, I assume she does) that the book is completely believable.
The book is not only about Sarah and her illness, but also about the process her family has to go through to get back to some sort of normal life.
There was a side story of Sarah’s mother, whom she had not seen much of for years, and who hadn’t been a good mother when she was young. She now comes to help Sarah and her family at a time when they need her help a lot. Sarah has no choice but to accept the help, although she’d rather not and she discovers why her mother couldn’t be there for her when she was young. Her mother’s non-involvement with her as a child is also the explanation of the title.
I loved reading this easy-going book with some heavy topics.
I got this book: got it in a book swap on Shelfari.com
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 327
First published: 2011
Genre: contemporary fiction
Extras: Review by Uniflame