Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

4 Star

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.

Lydia - 4 Star

This novel surprised me.  Still Alice was one of my favourites a couple of years ago and I had worried about being disappointed as I often am in this situation.  But I found I was pleasantly surprised…once I stopped comparing.

The first few chapters of Left Neglected were mind boggling to me. I felt like I was on a run away train.  It read like this with both what was transpiring and how it was written and combined with the knowledge that I already knew something ominous was about to happen, I didn’t relax until it actually did. I was seriously close to anxiety attacks.  It made me question my desire to have children. And for those of you out there who have them, I’m sure the chaos will seem familiar and I’m curious for Kathryn to read this and hear her opinion. 

One of the surprises I encountered was how frequently I laughed out loud.  Completely unexpected, I appreciated the lighter moments throughout the heavier subject matter and Sarah’s ability not to take herself so seriously.  This story took me on a ride and even without the high powered career or children or even a husband, I sat back several times and took stock.  What would I do?  Do I spend enough time with loved ones?  What matters most to me?

This novel stretched my mind in a million directions and I’m grateful for that.  The messages were so poignant in this era of electronic communication and stimulation.  And I know so many people who might… or dare I say – should – draw something from this novel that I’m desperate to pass it on.  And interestingly enough, now that I think about it, my online usage has dwindled over the last few weeks since reading this novel.  Huh…

Unfortunately I did have a few concerns including being unable to relate to Sarah’s character at times. I felt her overly materialistic, almost just to offset the situation and thought this could have been handled more subtly with just as much effect.  I also found the storyline predictable and the ending abrupt.  However, I did like the overall concept and, having studied psychology in University, I found Left Neglect to be a fascinating subject.

If you’re looking for something a little heavier, that will still give a few chuckles while making you think, search no further.  Pick up Left Neglected today

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