Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Book Review: Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

January 2011, 352 pages.
Source: library copy

Amazon Description: 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.

My Review: Sarah is a very career oriented woman who is left with a traumatic brain injury that completely changes the world as she knows it.

First of all, I have to say that I kept checking the little library tag to make sure this wasn't an autobiography. It's told in first person and the details, thoughts, and feelings shared with the reader, both before the accident and afterwards, were very real. Not only is Sarah dealing with a very demanding job, but she's also trying to juggle the many hats of a wife and mother and the accident couldn't have happened at a worse time.

Secondly, I thought, because of the nature of the story, this would be a very dark and depressing book, but it really wasn't. It was told in a very matter-of-fact way and there were always little glimpses of hope that became reality.

I liked the message, intended or not, that family is what truly matters--not a big house, vacation home, nanny, money, etc. It's kind of sad that it took this accident for Sarah to realize this. I love how things ended up, although the ending felt a little rushed to me, given how much detail was spent on the first 95% of the book.

I was surprised that this is a real condition.

Content: there are a handful of cuss words; there are two mentions of intimate moments (or lack of), with the second being a little more straightforward (not erotic, by any means) and fades to black before details are given--it is between a married couple.

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