Published January 2011 by Gallery Books
Source: the publisher
Bob and Sarah Nickerson are working hard to have it all - they and their three children live in the best neighborhood, they drive great cars, they have a home in the mountains. But it all comes at a price. Both work more than 60 hours a week leaving them little time with their children and even less time for each other.Sarah loves her job and is proud of the success she's had in it. Still...
When Sarah wakes up eight days after being in a terrible car accident, everything has changed. Diagnosed with a rare brain disorder called "Left Neglect," Sarah is unable to see and is unaware of anything on her left. She can't walk or dress herself because she doesn't even know she has a left leg or arm. She never finishes a meal because she doesn't see the left side of the plate. She can't read because she can't see the left side of the page or even the left side of the words.
"She has Left Neglect. It's a pretty common condition for patients who've suffered damage to the right-hemisphere, usually from a hemmorhage or stroke. Her brain isn't paying attention to anything on her left. "Left" doesn't exist to her."After weeks in rehabilitation and intensive therapy, Sarah is sent home where she must continue to train herself to recognize that while she is missing the left of everything now, she may have been missing even more before her accident. Thanks to her condition, Sarah is able to rebuild her estranged relationship with her mother, reconnect with Bob and truly become the parent her children need.
In Left Neglected, Genova addresses a number of medical subjects and relationship concerns. You've heard me complain before about authors trying to tackle too many issues in one book. It rarely works for me and I often find books that do this to be preachy and teachy. Genova manages to avoid that trap for the most part. Other than the Left Neglect, the medical conditions that she introduces are common to many families and it doesn't feel like Genova has tried to work something into the story just because she has something to say. Any household with children and two working parents can identify with much of what Bob and Sarah go through, trying to balance family and career, figuring out whose turn it is to take the children to school.
Genova's characters feel real and her writing highlights the little moments as much as the major ones. Readers will be able to relate to Sarah throughout the book, but certainly more so after her accident as she struggles between doubt and hope for her recovery. The Nickerson family is so real that Genova has even managed, with all of the heavy topics in the book, to work in some humor, lightening the book and helping to make it feel true to life. When I finished this book, I was immediately ready to start Genova's first book, Still Alice. Not wanting to muddy my thoughts on this one, I've tabled that book for a bit. As much as I enjoyed this one, it won't be long before I read pick it up, though. I highly recommend Left Neglected.