Left Neglected

Left Neglected


Title: Left Neglected

Author: Lisa Genova

Published: Simon & Schuster, 2011

Back Cover



Sarah Nickerson has it all: the high-flying career, the loving family, the second home. But between excelling at work; shuttling the kids to football, day care, and piano lessons; convincing her son’s teacher that he may not, in fact, have ADD; and making it home in time for dinner, it’s a wonder this over-scheduled over-achiever has time to breathe.

Sarah manages every minute of her life like an air traffic controller, until one fateful day, while driving to work, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In the blink of an eye, her chaotic life comes to a screeching halt. A traumatic brain injury completely erases the left side of her world. For once, Sarah must relinquish control to those around her, including her formerly absent mother. As she wills herself to heal, Sarah must learn that a happiness greater than all the success in the world is close within reach, if only she slows down long enough to notice.

In Brief



An insightful and sometimes frustrating look into the effects of a brain injury on both patient and family.

My Thoughts



Sarah Nickerson is a high powered wife and mother. Every minute is scheduled. Double booked even. No rest for the wicked and all that. Make all the monies. You know. Long days, minimal sleep, the last time she had an afternoon of rest and relaxation was…. never. Firstly, let me just say – not my kinda life. I could maybe uphold that for… 3 weeks? A month? That aside, after Sarah has a car accident, she winds up with left neglect. Which effectively means that she forgets her whole left side exists.

We follow Sarah as she struggles to come to terms with her new normal, and at the same time her son is struggling with how to manage his ADD. Her life has changed dramatically, and as much as she works and pushes her rehab, there comes a point where she just isn’t going to get any better. Then comes the mental struggle. Chuck her mother in the mix and you’ve found Sarah’s hell.

I really enjoyed Left Neglected, seeing Sarah improve, and deal with her mental struggles – like if she keeps forgetting she has a left leg, how is she ever going to ski again?

Lisa Genova has a PhD in Neuroscience, and as a nurse who has worked in neurology I find her books fascinating. Still Alice explores Alzheimers, and her newest book Love Anthony looks into autism. All of these are written about in a fascinating, tactful, engaging manner. Her writing is easy to read, and for me un-put-down-able. She explores difficult and complicated topics in an easy to read and easy to understand manner.


A: Almost Flawless!


RecommendAbsolutely. Not too heavy on the medical, but just enough so you understand what’s going on. If you enjoy ‘journey’ books, this one’s for you!


Have you read Left Neglected? Have you read any of Lisa Genova’s other books? Let me know what you think in the comments!


When It Happens To You



Author: Molly Ringwald

Published: 2012 – Simon & Schuster

A Novel in Stories

From a mother as she grapples with age, infertility and an increasingly distant husband to a former children’s television star who tries to rebuild his life after being hospitalized for ‘exhaustion’. From an elderly woman mourning the loss o her husband to a single mother who finds the strength to protect her flamboyant six-year-old son, these stories follow the hazardous terrain of everyday life, revealing the deceptions, heartbreak, and vulnerability familiar to us all.

When It Happens to You is an unflinching yet poignant examination of the intricacies of the human heart and an auspicious literary debut.

When… betrayal comes it takes many forms. A husband’s betrayal of a wife, a mother’s betrayal of her son, a woman betrayed by the loss of her soulmate.

When It… comes it will take you by surprise. But it will happen. And…

When It Happens… everything will change. You may not know it now but…

When It Happens to You… you will understand.

Review: This is a novel of short stories, wound together with connective links to make up one story. There is essentially one plot running through the whole novel, but there are also other stories told, peripheral to the central plot but linked in via a character connection.

The story centres around Greta, Phillip & their daughter Charlotte. As their family slowly falls apart, we explore the different emotions and perspectives through their interactions and relationships with other people.

While I was reading this, I found that I struggled a little with the fact that the short stories are… well, short stories. They are interspersed throughout the book, and I did have difficulty reconciling the completion of one story within a longer, ongoing story. Some of them didn’t feel particularly… finished. Particularly for me, the story of Marina, who befriends Phillip following the separation. They develop a friendship as their children, Charlotte and Oliver, play together. The story of Marina and Oliver is a complex one that I would have liked to explore further. Marina is struggling with the fact that her son identifies as a girl, and wishes to dress like one and be called Olivia. He feels it is simple – he is a girl, and that’s that. She forsees his life, and how difficult this journey will be.

This book highlights struggles and repercussions as a marriage falls apart, from the perspective of the betrayed, the betrayer, and those impacted such as children and family. At different points in the book I both liked and disliked most of the characters, depending on the point of view we were looking from. It’s definitely a book that makes you think, and it will stay with me for a while. I’d like to re-read this once I’ve had some time to think and digest it, I think this is one of those that you get more out of every time you read it.