One typical morning, Sarah Nickerson, a woman in her mid-thirties, is late for work, racing in her car after dropping her kids off at school and day care.
She tries to phone in to a meeting she should already be at when she takes her eye off the road for a second too long. In that blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her over-scheduled life come to a screeching halt.
Sarah suffers a traumatic head injury. Her memory and intellect are intact, but she has lost all interest in, and the ability to perceive, information coming from the left side of space. The left side of her world has gone.
Sarah only eats the food from the right side of her plate. She can't see her watch, or her engagement diamond or her wedding ring. She tries to use a wheel chair but can only spin in circles as her left arm dangles by her side.
About the Author
Lisa Genova graduated valedictorian from Bates College with a degree in Biopsychology and has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University. She is the author of the New York Times Best selling novel Still Alice , Left Neglected is her second novel. She lives with her family on Cape Cod.
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How could I not chose Left Neglected as my book of the month
after the response I have over the last couple of weeks to it as my Buzz Club choice?
Many of you will already know the author, Lisa Genova. Lisa shot to fame with Still Alice which has subsequently gone to many re-prints and was chosen last year as one of the 50 books for the national Get Reading campaign. It has been garnering fantastic reviews all over the world.
In Left Neglected , Lisa again explores a medical condition and its impact on an individual and all those who love her. Lisa is particularly skillful at building authentic characters and placing them in almost impossible, though entirely plausible situations. Her books are full of sentiment but are not sentimental.
At the heart of this novel is Sarah, a woman with a high powered job, an enormously busy schedule, a young demanding family and a good marriage which still always seems to come last. One morning, her life changes in an instant - texting at the same time as driving leads to a devastating accident. Sarah is left with a rare debilitating condition that renders the left half of her body completely unresponsive.
To watch a clip of Lisa explaining this rare condition, known as 'left neglect' go here. She also describes how she researches her novels.
Lisa writes with insight and nuance. She captures the pressures and dilemmas of the mad urban existence that many of us lead, as well as the very real physical and emotional effects of consistent high stress. When it comes to fictionalising real-life afflictions, there is no one better, probably because she herself has a Ph.D in neuroscience from Harvard and this has informed her writing from the beginning.
My grandmother had Alzheimer's. As the neuroscientist in the family, I felt it was my responsibility to understand as much as possible about this disease. The research papers and nonfiction books were helpful, but they were also dry and clinical. And they didn't answer the one question I really wanted to understand-What does it feel like to have Alzheimer's? I'm not sure why I assumed that writing a novel would be the way to explore and answer this question, but I'm so glad I did!
To read the rest of our exclusive interview with Lisa, go here.
"Imagine your too busy, over scheduled, Type A life coming to a
screeching halt. That is what happens in Lisa Genova's timely new
novel, LEFT NEGLECTED. As her protagonist, Sarah Nickerson, works her
way through a devastating brain injury and back into that hectic life,
she is forced to re-evaluate what really matters. I dare any reader to
not do the same in their own lives after reading this book."
-- Ann Hood
"Devastating and hopeful, haunting and familiar, Left Neglected is a triumph of insight and empathy."
-- Stefan Merrill Block, international bestselling author of The Story of Forgetting and The Storm at the Door
"Once again, Lisa Genova goes where few authors dare, and mines a compelling and beautifully written story about finding peace, wisdom and human connection. While Sarah Nickerson's condition is rare, her journey is universal. "
-- Lynn Kiele Bonasia, author of Summer Shift
"Achingly real. Beautifully written. Lisa Genova takes us on a moving journey of loss, forgiveness, hope, love and the resilience of the human spirit."
-- Julia Fox Garrison, author of Don't Leave Me This Way
"Lisa Genova has done it again! By turns chilling and deeply moving, Left Neglected is a stunning reminder that a single moment can change a life."
-- Brunonia Barry, author of the New York Times best seller The Lace Reader
"Lisa Genova is the Michael Crichton of brain science. What she proved with Still Alice, she proves again with Left Neglected. This is huge, powerful human drama at its elegant best."
-- Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of the New York Times bestseller The Deep End of the Ocean
"Intuitive and captivating. In this moving chronicle of a family's struggle with brain injury, Lisa Genova powerfully conveys the shattering trials of an ordinary life made alien by brain injury, and in the process reveals the true power and strength of the human spirit. Left Neglected will leave you stunned and inspired."
-- Michael Paul Mason, author of Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath
"Remember how you couldn't put down Still Alice? Well, clear your schedule--because you're going to feel the same way."
-- JODI PICOULT
"The journey Lisa Genova takes us on in Left Neglected is a personal one, for any woman who's ever had to make a business call while driving to day care, or who finishes a full day's work at a high-powered job only to start the second shift as a mom: sometimes, we literally need a shock to the system to remember what matters the most in life. Remember how you couldn't put down Still Alice? Well, clear your schedule - because you're going to feel the same way." -- Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of House Rules and Sing You Home
"Irresistibly readable and moving." --"Booklist"
Number Of Pages: 406
Published: 18th December 2011
Dimensions (cm): 0.3 x 40.6 x 8.3
Weight (kg): 0.471