MOTIVATION for READING this now: I loved Still Alice, Genova’s debut and am fascinated by the brain, so OF COURSE, I wanted to read this. When I told my neighbor she should read Still Alice, and she did; she then purchased Left Neglected, read it, loved it, gave it to me. Boy was that an awkward sentence… Anyway, if you saw my previous post, you know that I put three books on the floor — all books I want to read NOW and let my puppy pick. She chose this.
WHAT’s it ABOUT: An ambitious high-striving career woman with three kids and a husband just as driven as she is finds herself a survivor of a scary car crash. However. Her bump to the head has left her with a condition called ‘Left Neglect’. This story of her challenges to understand what is going on with her brain and how/if she manages to recover and move on. I cried. You know I cried! sniff, sniff.
WHAT’s GOOD: Genova really gets into the heads of her protagonists. Told in first-person account, this book gives the reader w a real sense of what is important to — crap! I already forgot her name! Sarah, I think. (huh.) — Where was I? She is driven, has extreme type A personality traits, loves her kids and is exhausted trying to keep all the balls in the air. She finds out the painful way which balls are glass and thus shouldn’t be dropped and which balls are allowed to drop and (maybe) bounce. This book is easy to read and yet delivers understandable information on a medical condition that is not well-known. Genova excels at doing her research and seamlessly weaving it into the story without bogging it down in details. I also loved the Boston setting even if I can barely state that I am Boston-knowledgeable. Perhaps it was because I recently drove from Boston College to Copley Square (and parked at the Prudential Bldg Shopping Complex!) and also had a friend spend some time at Spaulding Rehab Hospital which is where Genova researched the therapy for Left-Neglect.
WHAT’s NOT so good: Minor, very picky minor issue? I suppose that it could be classified as a “wrong-headed person gets attitude-adjustment” kind of story but that’s OK. It is well-written and entertainingly educates on fascinating science-y stuff.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I will gladly read any more books published by Lisa Genova. She’s very nice in person, too. I got to meet her at a Still Alice book event in Chatham Mass.