Left Neglected

  LEFT NEGLECTED

Lisa Genova

Wow. I have never even heard of the condition Left Neglect. Can you imagine trying to live your life not being able to see the left side of anything? Not just the left side of your body or things to your left; but not even being able to see the things on the left side of the right?? Not being able to read because you can’t find the left side of the book or not eating anything on the left side of you plate. And it’s not just that you can’t see it, its just that it literally doesn’t exist to your brain. You don’t even realize that you are not registering the left side of your life! The thought just overwhelms me completely. And even though this story is fiction, the condition is not. I suggest reading this book not only to learn about Left Neglect but for the inspiring story of a woman learning to see everything around her because of her Left Neglect. It’s a very heart warming story.

Sarah Nickerson is a 37-year-old, overachieving multitasker with a Harvard MBA and a demanding job as vice president of human relations at a Boston
consulting firm. Her husband, Bob, works at a struggling tech start-up and shares in the upbringing of their three young children in an affluent suburb. Then there’s a car accident on a rainy November morning, and a traumatic brain injury leaves Sarah with “left neglect,” a lack of awareness of anything to her left, including the left side of her own body. The one person who can help when insurance runs out is Sarah’s mother, Helen, yet their relationship has been rocky ever since Helen was a virtually absentee mother for Sarah after Sarah’s brother, Nate, died in childhood. As Sarah’s struggles parallel those of her 7-year-old son, Charlie, just diagnosed with ADHD, there is healing of body, mind, and mother-daughter relationship and acceptance that “normal is overrated.” Neuroscientist enova (Still Alice, 2009) once again personalizes an actual disabling brain condition to create irresistibly readable and moving fiction.

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