Saturday, November 19, 2011

Review: Left Neglected by Lisa Genova (audio book)

From the back of the audio case: 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. 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; and making it home in time for dinner, it's a wonder this 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 must pay close attention to the details surrounding her, including her formerly absent mother.

Without an awareness of the book on the life side of her plate or her own left hand, she is forced to search for answers in the void of this strange hemi-world - both about the 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.

Read by: Sarah Paulson

My thoughts: I found this to be a compelling portrayal of a life plan interrupted and the journey that ensues in reclaiming a simpler, more meaningful life. This book is truly a thought-provoking experience. It will make you ponder the 'what would I cope' long after you have turned the last page.

Sarah Nickerson has it all and seems to be able to do it all. And it is while trying to multitask - driving while talking on the cell phone - that Sarah's world is turned upside down. Unable to work, dependent on others and forced to accept that her life will never be quite the same, Sarah must reexamine her life, her priorities and her relationships - the things in her life that have been 'left neglected.'  

With determination and wit, Sarah battles to get back her life. But when push comes to shove and the idea of always having to wear elastic waist pants becomes Sarah's new normal, she has to question if this is the life that she wants. Is her mother's reappearing and taking over the child rearing of Sarah's kids something that she can tolerate? Is her husband's borderline job going to be enough to see them through? Sometimes we need to find a new normal and whether it's by choice or by a freak accident we are in a situation and need to make new decision. 

There were times when I found Left Neglected to be laugh out loud funny. Sarah has such a dry (and at times dark) humor when talking about life after her accident. The struggles that she faces are heart wrenching, unimaginable and sometimes just plain funny. Sarah does not pity herself; not does she look for pity.

This is the first book I have read by Lisa Genova but it certainly won't be my last.

(I borrowed this audio book from the library.)

1 comment

  1. Lisa Genova is a favourite, I will buy every book now. I also enjoyed this one and thought it was though provoking. Still Alice is my ultimate favouite.


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