Saturday, April 7, 2012

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

After reading Genova’s “Still Alice”, an absorbing story of a relatively young woman (50’s) and her battle with Alzheimer’s, I was extremely interested in what she would write next.  I was not disappointed with “Left Neglected”.  Ms. Genova holds a PhD in neuroscience from Harvard University and it shows in her fascinating writing about the human mind.
This book tells the story of Sarah Nickerson, a 37 year-old woman with three children, a husband and a very high-powered job.  She easily works an eighty hour week, all the while juggling the demands of her household and three young children.  All of this comes to a stop one day when she is in a horrific car accident.  She has sustained a injury to the right lobe of her brain and now has what is called Left Neglect.  This is where her brain no longer recognizes “left”.  She can’t see anything to the left of her and cannot make the left side of her body work.   

In one scene in the book, Sarah’s husband Bob gets a little frustrated with her and tells her to “just look a little more to the left”.  She replies with, “Bob, tell me everything you see in this room.”  Bob goes on to describe the room, when he is done Sarah says to him, “Now, if I told you that you missed half of everything that was in the room, where would you look?”  He admits that he doesn’t know and Sarah explains that is the way with her.  Her brain no longer “gets” left.

This is the story of Sarah and her family learning to cope with her condition and is a gripping read.  There is also a sweet sub-story of Sarah’s relationship with her mother.

4 stars (Rated PG – for adult talk and situations)

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