Left Neglected: A book you definitely should not neglect!
Updated: Mar 12, 2021
Title: Left Neglected
Author: Lisa Genova
First published: 4 January 2011
Source: Own copy
What is it about?
Sarah Nickerson has it all. A charmed life with a fast paced career where she is at the top of her game and a beautiful home she shares with her supportive husband Bob and three children. She is, as the blurb suggests a 'Supermom' living a hectic but fulfilling life. She wants to juggle everything but surely at some point she is going to drop one of the balls?
One fateful day, a tragic accident occurs and all at once the plates stop spinning and she is forced to take her life at a slower pace. While trying to regain her life and independence she begins to realise that maybe slowing down is not the worst thing in the world and that life has a lot more to offer her when she takes the time to appreciate it.
I absolutely loved this book. It was an unplanned choice which I selected through a book swap. I hadn't heard of it or read Still Alice so thought I would give the author a try. I'm so glad I did!!
'Left Neglect' otherwise known as 'Unilateral neglect' is a condition I was not aware of, I found the medical information in the story absolutely fascinating. I love a book that has been written by someone with personal knowledge of the content and being a Neuroscientist Lisa Genova is well versed in the nature of the brain. Left Neglect is a symptom of brain damage which essentially causes everything to the left side of your brain to simply not exist. Your brain fills in the visions with what it thinks should be there and you don't realise the left half of your vision is missing. Including the left side of your body. I love anything brain related and medical, I find it so interesting how the brain works and how clever a machine it is.
"I smile, loving him for changing with me, for going where my Neglect has taken us, for getting the new me."
It is a beautiful journey of self discovery and re-evaluation. Watching Sarah come to terms with this condition with positivity and humour was so inspiring. Her family, even her estranged mother, and key workers are so supportive along the journey and help to keep her motivated. Even though she was a fictional character I found her so inspirational and it really made me consider our fast paced lives. We do forget or push aside the things that matter to 'do later'. I know I do, I have a to do list that never gets completed and so much work to do outside of school as a teacher that I sometimes forget to just take time to enjoy my life as it is. We don't need to constantly chase the next good thing when there are so many good things surrounding us right now! This is a difficult notion to think about at the moment, during lockdown, as we are all waiting for things to get back to normal...... but I am trying to focus on the good around me - being able to walk in the fresh air with my toddler and feed the ducks, playing hide and seek behind trees and enjoying hot chocolate when we get home. These things are happening in the now and he won't be this age forever so I need to embrace it. Reading this story during lockdown times was probably the best time to do it as it made me think about life and how I want to live it!
What if there is no later?
What if this is all we have right now?
What would you choose to prioritise?
Have you read this book? Did it speak to you? Do you recommend any other books by this author?
Did my review encourage you to give the book a go?
Let me know in the comments!