March 08, 2011

Left Neglected - Lisa Genova


I read Lisa Genova's first novel, Still Alice last year and really liked it -I didn't think it was a perfect novel in any way but it had an emotional impact on me - it lingered.

I'm afraid to say that Genova's second novel, Left Neglected will not be lingering with me in the same way.

Left Neglected tells the story of 37 year old high flying business woman, wife and mother, Sarah Nickerson who is involved in a serious car accident while driving to her workplace one morning.

Sarah survives the accident but is left with a brain injury and a neurological condition referred to as "Left Neglect" which basically means that Sarah is unaware of the existence of "left". The left side of her body, the left side of a page in a book, the left side of a room just don't register for Sarah after the accident and the majority of the book is spent detailing her rehabilitation - both physical and psychological.

The main problem with this book for me was Sarah herself - I didn't like her or have any emotional connection with her. She felt like a cardboard cutout and I felt she was often displaying "text book" responses to certain situations. There was no depth there for me.

Another issue for me was once again Genova has chosen to tell her story through an upper middle class, educated and resourceful character. I also had a problem with this in Still Alice but in that book I could overlook this device whereas in Left Neglected I just had the feeling that I had read this exact same story before - except with a new health concern being the vehicle for the story.

For me this book was all formula and no heart - pretty disappointing.

4 comments:

Beachreader said...

I read Left Neglected earlier this year and felt pretty much the same as you. I found the medical side interesting, but did not like the character.

Sabrina said...

Thanks for the review. I toyed with the idea of reading the book because the first one I thought to be okay just like you and wondered what the second one would be like. But for all the reasons you mentioned I will not hurry to read it now.

BTW I also wonder why Genova does not try to tell about the impact of any mental illness on a person with a 'normal' family.

Karen said...

Hi Beachreader - I was really interested in the medical side of things too - I kind of wish she had just turned it into a non-fiction book - I think I would have enjoyed that more.

Hi Sabrina - The reviews seem really mixed about this one - some people love it and others are more like me and not really all that convinced!

Anonymous said...

I needed to thank you for this excellent read!! I absolutely enjoyed every bit of it.

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