Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Fiction — print. Gallery Books, 2011. 327 pgs. Library copy.

I added Genova’s book to my TBR list after seeing Stephanie of Stephanie’s Written Word review it in February. Since then I’ve seen reviewed, purchased, or checked out of the library by other book bloggers. On Wednesday, I spotted the book in the leisure reading section of my library on campus and decided to check it out for myself.

Sarah Nickerson, a thirty-something mom of three, struggles to balance her home life and business. Living in an affluent suburb of Boston (a thinly veiled reference to Wellesley), she and her husband Bob are also wrapped in up in a game of keeping up with the Joneses and concerns about the possibility their eldest son Charlie might have ADHD.

In a blink of an eye, however, their life changes forever after a car accident leaves Sarah with a traumatic brain injury. This disorder — called Left Neglect — completely erases the left side of her world. Her left arm, hand, and side of her face does not exist to her. People standing on her left and the left side of a picture go unnoticed.

I might have had this book confused with another because for the first hour I spent reading it, I could not figure out why the main character’s name is Sarah when the author’s name is Lisa. I thought for sure the book was autobiographical. Whoops! (Note to self: Do not read when exhausted. Go to bed instead.)

Most of the book has the main character talking about how wonderful her life is. Her husband is great. Her kids are great. She’s kind of boring and a stereotype, which may be why others have been able to identify with her. I was not able to do so because my life does not reflect hers, and there just wasn’t enough about her to compel me to like her.

What I did like was learning about hemispatial neglect (the clinical term for Left Neglect) and seeing how snowboarding/skiing was incorporated into her physical therapy. We have an active organization on the slope near my home that provides the same services. I’m glad some attention has been payed to programs like this around the country. Interesting case study but not executed in the way I would have liked.

Others’ Thoughts:

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3 thoughts on “Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

  1. To be honest, I had pretty much nothing in common with the main character either, and didn’t even particularly like her, but for me it didn’t change the fact that I enjoyed the book a lot. I guess seeing her transform from a kind of snobbish, “me” type of person into someone more down to earth was interesting to me.

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