Sunday, January 16, 2011

Left Neglected

by Lisa Genova

Left NeglectedThere's two things I really like. First is historical fiction. You know, where the story isn't real, but the facts, places and/or events surrounding the story are. What always comes to mind is the movie Titanic. Make fun of me if you want, I don't care, I love that movie. The second is accuracy. Now, I'm all for a story involving fantasy and the theory of "what if," but I also like when a fiction book can speak the truth about a syndrome, disease, disorder and still keep the entertainment value. I kind of think the two go together.

Lisa Genova is a real-life neuroscientist, so accuracy is her specialty. I think it's pretty cool that she can also write interesting novels. Sarah and her husband Bob are a career-driven couple with three children. They both work 60-hour weeks and have a nanny to care for the kids. While they love their children, neither can give up the corporate life to spend more time with their family. They tend to hide behind the excuse that they need these high-paying jobs to afford the lifestyle in which they are accustomed. I personally think this is a cop out, but thus is the basis for the story. Running late for an important meeting, Sarah is multi-tasking in her car going 70 on the highway when she looks up to see traffic at a stand still. She wakes up eight days later to realize that the left side of her body no longer exists, at least according to her brain. Here's where her true journey begins. Will she ever fully recover? What will happen to her job? Will she be able to take care of herself, let alone her children? Her struggles and new realities play out in a fascinating way. Told with believability and medical accuracy, Left Neglected is a story that hits the mark.

"I think some small part of me knew I was living an unsustainable life. Every now and then it would whisper, Sarah, please slow down. You don't need all this. You can't continue like this. But the rest of me, powerful, smart and determined to achieve, achieve, achieve, wasn't hearing a word of it ...
... Even my dreams began tapping me on the shoulder, trying to grab my attention. Don't you even know what you're doing? Let me show you ... With all that has happened, I honestly believe that they were guidance sent from a spiritual source. Messages from God. And I ignored them. I guess I needed something less fleeting and more concrete.
Like a traumatic smack to the head."

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