Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Review - Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Title: Left Neglected  
Author: Lisa Genova 
Year: 2011
Page: 336
Genre: Fiction - Medical

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
Sarah Nickerson is like any other career-driven supermom in Welmont, the affluent Boston suburb where she leads a hectic but charmed life with her husband Bob, faithful nanny, and three children—Lucy, Charlie, and nine-month-old Linus.

Between recruiting the best and brightest minds as the vice president of human resources at Berkley Consulting; shuttling the kids to soccer, 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-achieving Harvard graduate has time to breathe.
A self-confessed balloon about to burst, Sarah miraculously manages every minute of her life like an air traffic controller. Until one fateful day, while driving to work and trying to make a phone call, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In the blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her jam-packed life come to a screeching halt.

A traumatic brain injury completely erases the left side of her world, and for once, Sarah relinquishes control to those around her, including her formerly absent mother. Without the ability to even floss her own teeth, she struggles to find answers about her past and her uncertain future.

Now, as she wills herself to regain her independence and heal, Sarah must learn that her real destiny—her new, true life—may in fact lie far from the world of conference calls and spreadsheets. And that a happiness and peace greater than all the success in the world is close within reach, if only she slows down long enough to notice.

First Sentence:
I think some small part of me knew I was living an unsustainable life.

My Thoughts:

Why this book?
  • Still Alice is one of my favorite books - I love how the story reveals. So when I heard the author has a new book coming out last year, I marked it on my calendar to look out for it! And reserved it from the library as soon as they had it listed. I think I was first of the queue :) This is definitely my most anticipated book of 2011 (even more so than Mockingjoy by Suzanne Collins last year!)
First thought:
  • Not as good as Still Alice... :(
Cover Art:
  • If I was picking a book by its cover, I think I would've passed this book. While the coloring of the cover relates to the story, I don't get why an apple was used (hopefully it wasn't influenced by the popular Twilight apple cover...) I think a painting would have been more appropriate (you'd know what I mean once you read the book, so I won't elaborate more) Not an ugly cover by any means, just think it could have been better. I do like that it is a metallic cover.
  • I like it. Appropriate. Has double meanings. 
  • Like Still Alice, it is easy to read. I think I prefer books written in first person, as is this one. In the first few chapters though, they began with some passages in italics. Not sure if I like those passages as I got a little bored by them, and could see perhaps just one of them being important to the story. 
  • Have to say it's pretty predictable. Granted, Still Alice was pretty predictable too, but the way the story was revealed made it very interesting  
  • The most interesting part was reading about the assessment and rehab of this medical condition, from the patient's point of view. I think this is where the author's strength is - to explain medical diseases in easy-to-understand terms, so that we have a better understanding of it than just reading a medical dictionary. I wish more was explored in this area
  • The story also touched on mother-daughter relationship, and I wish it went on a bit deeper too
  • I like them fine, though we are definitely not in the same class :) But I definitely didn't feel the same connection to Sarah as I did to Alice - you couldn't help but feel for Alice, but I didn't feel the same way for Sarah even though I feel bad for what she went through
  • I did like Sarah's sense of humor
  • At first I wonder if it distracts from the story when Sarah's kid has "a problem", but I think it ended up weaving into the story quite nicely
  • Predictable. 
  • Not an emotional read for me, as Still Alice was. I remember I cried a lot during Still Alice. Didn't shed a single tear with this one. Now, I don't mean every book has to be sad and depressing, but I want to be able to cry and laugh with the characters, and go through their ups and downs
  • Not a bad read, but definitely didn't live up to my (high) expectations - perhaps that was my fault to have such high expectations, but it's hard not to after Still Alice!
  • I don't regret reading it, I did learn something new. I just wish it was a bit more emotional - maybe goes into the struggle and rehab process a bit more. 
Read this Author again?
  • Yes I will. I hope it'd be as good as Still Alice again. I hope she doesn't become a "formula" author though. I appreciate her bringing medical knowledge to us in an easy-to-understand, and interesting, manner.

The fathers cheering on the sidelines are upheld as great dads. Fathers who miss the games are working. Mothers who miss the games, like me, are bad mothers. (p15)

It forces me to focus on my abilities and not my disability, to overcome huge obstacles, both physical and psychological, to stay up on that board and get down the mountain in one piece. (p296)

Overall Rating: 
3.5 Stars - Not bad, could have been better

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.


  1. I would have to say my most anticipated book also. I am very sad to see only a 3.5 stars, oh no Christa.....

    And last night I searched my emails for my preordered copy :-0 didn't find it, now i'm not 100% I ordered it, how is that possible, uggggh, but will download on Kindle I guess.

    Still Alice is still an all time favourite for me, loved it.

    I won't mind if she becomes a formula author, I think only a special talented author can do that and execute well.

  2. @Marce, I have read LOTS of positive reviews, in fact, mine is probably the most negative so far (apart from maybe one other person I read somewhere online). But it could just be me being picky :) I definitely was comparing it to Still Alice rather than reading it objectively... but it's hard not to. I had a similar experience with Jodi Picoult's books - I got emotional reading My Sister's Keeper, than a read a second one that was just so-so. Can't wait to see what you think!

  3. I'm also first in queue for this book at my library, and the order just came through. :) I'm going this Friday to collect it - I think I know what I'll be reading this weekend!

    I don't know how I'll feel reading this, considering it's about brain injury. A few months ago, it would have been just another book. Now though, having seen first-hand and been frightened by the effects of brain injury, this could be a bit emotional for me. Still, I want to see how it goes.