"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

16 July 2015

2015 Book Review #23: Left Neglected

I got this book signed by the author!!

I actually had her sign it for my sister Joy as an early birthday gift (she has a Dec bday like me).....or just because I like giving gifts and I know Joy likes this authors' books.  But, because I met Lisa Genova in downtown Chatham (Cape Cod) while we were there on vacation last week, I decided to also read this novel before giving it to my sister last night. I had read her first one (Still Alice) about a month or so ago, and I read Love Anthony (my fave so far) sometime last year.  AND.....I didn't buy her latest....I happened to see it on the town library shelf a couple days ago so am just now starting that one.  (Inside the O'Briens)   No matter which novel of Lisa's you pick up, you will be hooked!  She is a phenomenal writer who touches on various neurological conditions/disabilities.  She actually has a PhD in neuroscience!  And she was the sweetest, personable woman.  It was a pleasure to chat with her briefly.  I think it's fun to meet a favorite author, especially when she/he is as brilliant as Lisa is.


The story takes place in a suburb west of Boston and in the mountains of Vermont.  Sarah Nickerson is a 37 yr old mother of 3 who also happens to be a high powered executive in a very fast-paced firm in downtown Boston.  She is married to Bob who is also extremely busy working for a start-up company in Boston.  They own both houses (one in the burbs and the one in a small Vermont village).  All 3 children are under the age of 8 and are also very active. Their oldest son, Charlie, has been diagnosed with ADHD and is a handful.  Lucy, is a typical 5 year old who loves mommy's attention and bedtime stories.  And baby Linus is....well....a baby.  Who goes to daycare and rarely sees Mommy or Daddy.  In fact, they have a nanny, who helps to manage the children after school and daycare in the early evening hours.  Bob and Sarah are lucky if they make it home to the burbs by dessert and bedtime for the children. They are highly educated, extremely wealthy, and always busy.

One day, Sarah is super busy and is trying to multi-task on her way to work.  As she sits on the Mass Pike, she searches for her cell.  And then she gets in a horrible accident which leaves her with the condition known as "left neglect".

But.....don't let the title fool you.  (at first glance, I thought the book was going to be about the struggles of leaving your children with nannies/daycares, etc)

There are also underlying themes of emotional abandonment she faced as a little girl and teen from her mother.  And there is always the struggle between career and family/home life. 

Left Neglect is a real diagnoses and is somewhat rare from what I've read.  Bascially, Sarah has no awareness of her left side.  She isn't paralyzed..she just has no awareness that she has a left hand/foot, etc.  So she begins a few months of occupational and physical therapies in a rehab center.  After 10 weeks, she must go home to face the thought that she might never be fully "normal" again.

And...she has the difficult decision to make about whether to return to her career.

Read the book to find out what happens to this precious family!


Wow.  Another excellent book from this author!  I read it in 3 days and loved it.  I  enjoy the humor in it as well as the more serious aspects.

I found my self cheering for her to accomplish simple tasks.

I was very interested in how the author approached the various techniques with helping Charlie  to complete his own tasks.  All of the methods used in the book are methods we do in the special education classrooms I teach in.

I always love her setting descriptions.  They really help you conjure up the various places and it's fun to read about places you have been to, or that you can imagine based on your own experiences in those cities/states.

This book is real.....the characters jump out at you and you feel like you want to meet them!  I love that about her writing.  It's like every day stuff.  It's like real life.  And I appreciate that the author brings out the dangers of texting and using a cell phone while driving.  Kudos to her for that!!  (and people wonder why NYS has strict cell phone policies! Now..if we can just get the state of MA to make talking on a cell illegal......!!)

From Sarah's tragedy, she learns empathy.  She learns to deal with her past and to forgive.  She learns to embrace the simple pleasures/moments in life. And she learns what really is important.

And nothing is impossible.  A big theme that comes out in this story.

(and that was the message she wrote on the title page to my sister!)

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 14 and older.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 10.


Susanne said...

I sorta just really scanned your review because I wanted to know nothing about it for when I read it, not even the general description. But I totally did look for your rating and am glad to see that it's as high as Still Alice. Looking forward to reading all of her books.

Deb said...

Sounds like another good book. Thanks for the review.