Customer Reviews for

Left Neglected

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

21 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

A definite must-read!

Like most working mothers, Sarah Nickerson never has enough hours in the day. Between her high-powered corporate job, husband, three children, two homes, Sarah has filled every minute of every day with something. Life is literally passing her by as she tries to have i...
Like most working mothers, Sarah Nickerson never has enough hours in the day. Between her high-powered corporate job, husband, three children, two homes, Sarah has filled every minute of every day with something. Life is literally passing her by as she tries to have it all. One rainy night, Sarah is rushing back to her office to put in more hours, begins digging for her cell phone, and in an instant, her life is changed forever.

When Sarah wakes up from a devastating car accident, she is suffering from Left Neglect. Due to damage to the right side of her brain, Sarah no longer recognizes anything on the left side. As she begins to work towards her recovery, Sarah also begins to realize all of the other aspects of her life she was neglecting. She may have had money, power, and prestige, but she was missing out on soccer games, piano recitals, and the lives of her husband and children. Sarah's injury and recovery force her to re-examine her priorities and re-evaluate what is really important.

Left Neglected is a fantastic novel by Lisa Genova. Her characters, while affluent in this case, could really embody the lives of any working family. We all get caught up in the day-to-day activities and begin to take our blessings for granted. We simply get so busy in our lives that we forget to really live them. Genova crafts the story wonderfully, taking readers on a walk through the lives of Sarah and her family.

If I had any negatives to post, it would be the sort of glossing over of the relationship between Sarah and her mother. Additionally, the story could have been built up further with regards to the other characters as well, as the length of the advanced copy of the book is only at just over 300 pages. That leaves a lot of additional space for learning more about the lives of Sarah and her family members beyond what is written.

The hope here is that Genova's tale is enough to make us all take a step back and rearrange our priorities. Maybe we cut back on the things we really don't need. Maybe we have our children choose one sport instead of trying them all. And maybe, just maybe, we realize just how precious life is right now, instead of waiting for a tragedy to teach us differently.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

posted by irishbookworm21 on November 22, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Overrated

Predictable story, not deserving of raves.

posted by readerxJL on August 26, 2011

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  • Posted March 6, 2011

    unbelievable

    best book i' ve read in a year. bravo.

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  • Posted March 4, 2011

    Good read

    This was a good read. Lisa Genova did a great job of doing her homework, getting a true understanding of the view point of a disabled person, and relaying that point of view into a fine story.

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  • Posted January 16, 2011

    Loved!

    What a great read and touching story. Both of Genova's books put emphasis on what's important in lfe.

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  • Posted January 9, 2011

    A journey through traumatic brain injury

    Sarah and her husband Bob are both Harvard MBA-trained, in successful, demanding, stressful jobs. They have three children, Charlie, Lucy and Linus (although they named the first two without recognizing the Charlie Brown association). Sarah is 37 years old, part of the 'always-connected' crowd of text messages, emails, and phone calls regarding work, even during dinner with her family or while trying to get to her son's last soccer game of the season. Charlie's teacher, Ms. Gavin, states during a conference that Charlie is showing signs of possible ADD and that they should look into it; the part-time nanny, Abby, may soon no longer be available to them, and Sarah's mind is filled with thoughts of the busy recruiting season for her firm.

    On her way to work, Sarah is rooting around for her cell phone when she takes her eyes off the road, resulting in a tragic accident that leaves her with a traumatic brain injury, suffering from a little-known or understood condition called "Left Neglect" (unilateral neglect/hemispatial neglect). Her brain simply refuses to acknowledge that there is anything on the left side, whether it's her left arm or foot, the left side of the television screen, paper, book .. anything. The reader journeys with her through her four-month stay at Baldwin Rehabilitation Center (her insurance won't pay for a longer stay) and beyond, her re-establishment of a relationship with her mother, and the difficulties that even the smallest task now presents.

    Before going back to school, my Middle Bebe Daughter Jasmine worked with patients with traumatic brain injury. Although she could never go into specifics (names, etc.), some of her tales were heart-breaking, and I found myself fascinated with Ms. Genova's novelization of a real condition and it's effects.

    Near the beginning of the novel, we find odd dream sequences like this:

    "Sure, honey, what piece do you want?"
    "Can I have your eyes?"
    "You can have one."
    I pull my left eyeball out of the socket. It feels a little like a deviled egg, but warmer.

    interspersed with the tale of the too-busy and (I felt), too career-driven life of Sarah. I must admit that I didn't really like Sarah very much near the beginning. As a working mother, I've always tried to put my children before the job, and very rarely would I let the job interfere with my family life. Sarah and Bob LIVE their jobs, and to me, family life seems at best an interruption, rather than an equally or even more important part of their lives.

    The emotional growth that Sarah goes through during this ordeal is, like all true growth, not sudden, but taken a step at a time. By the end of the novel, I felt invested in her and happy with the changes she had made. I also came away with a better understanding of a condition that I was previously unaware of; one that could not have been imparted by a clinical recounting of the condition and it's effects.

    QUOTES (from a galley; may be different in finished version):

    Some child expert once said or I read somewhere that parents should never lie to their kids. I've never heard of anything so ridiculous.

    He'd look like a real jerk if he left his brain-injured wife. But he doesn't deserve a brain-injured wife. He married his partner, not someone he has to dress and provide for and take care of the rest of his life.

    Wait, can I even have sex with this? I think I can.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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