I am a big fan of Lisa Genova. I have read 4 out of the 5 books she has written and I love them all. However, this one is my favourite. I prefer the writing style of this book as it is much wittier than her other books; it almost feels like a different writer.
The general storyline is about a high-flyer woman who is married with three kids; they both have high-powered jobs, lots of money, lots of hours. They live in Boston and have a holiday home in Vermont (I am totally jealous!) and a nanny. It looks like they have everything except for time. On her way home from watching her son play Baseball she crashes the car and suffers from brain damage. The damage is called “Left Neglect” which is a condition where the brain does not recognise the left side of anything; she literally cannot see anything or anyone on the left, she cannot use her left arm or leg, and she doesn’t even believe she has them at first. After hospital she has to go through rehab to train her body and mind to recognise the left of everything.
I found this book absolutely fascinating. I have never heard of “Left Neglect” but it sure sounds fascinating the way it is described. She is not blind, but is sort of blind to the left, except if she tries hard (over time) she can see the left, sometimes. I totally relate to this woman, she is trying to juggle working full-time (though her hours are crazy) with a young family and a life. I also love how the book ends, though I won’t post a spoiler, but it was a good ending.
I find the way she described family life with young children so real, that I feel that she must have written this book at the same time that she had young children herself, because it felt so real and present; and so much like the chaos in my own home! I particularly love this little description of her youngest: “Later that night, feeling restless, I get out of bed, creep into Linus’s room, and watch him sleeping in his crib. He’s lying on his back, wearing blue feety pajamas, one arm up over his head. I listen to his deep-sleep exhales. Even years past those fragile newborn months, it still gives my maternal ears relief and peace to hear the sounds of my children breathing when they’re asleep.”
Some of my favourite quotes from the book:
“Dressed like a lunatic”
“Only the beanbags are watching spongebob”
“Parked in the school lot, I grab their two backpacks, which I swear weigh more than they do, get out, and open the back door like a chauffeur. Who am I kidding? Not like a chauffeur. I am a chauffeur. No one moves.”
“Buttoning the length of my shirt with Left Neglect and one right hand takes the same kind of singular, intricate, held-breath concentration that I imagine someone trying to dismantle a bomb would need to have.”
So to sum up, read this book, it is excellent, particularly if you enjoy books about medical conditions and or books about family life. It is not as hard to read as some of Lisa Genova’s books, it does not have a bad ending. That being said, I love all of her books and you can read my review of Still Alice here. I would like to say one final note to Audible – please add this book to your collection, so that I can listen to it. Thank you.