I recently received an uncorrected proof, special ARE of Lisa Genova's LEFT neglected. Lisa Genova wrote the bestselling novel Still Alice. Her new novel LEFT neglected will be released January 2011.
This book is....interesting. The cynic inside of me secretly thinks that it's entirely possible this novel was solicited by the police in an attempt to get drivers to stop using cell phones while they're driving.
The book tells the story of Sarah Nickerson, a woman who lives in a nice neighborhood, has three children, and is a very successful businesswoman. She likes the challenges and power that comes with her job, she wants to be a great mom, and balancing things is a bit difficult, if not impossible some days. Basically, Ms. Nickerson tends to feel that she either isn't devoting enough time to her family, or that she isn't devoting enough time to her work, though she simply keeps going, trying harder, pushing herself further. All very cliched things that you've read plenty of times in fiction before.
While the book feels like it's going for a "& she had to re-prioritize when her husband Bob filed for divorce papers" or "& she had to re-prioritize when she was fired from her job due to recession cuts," the book ACTUALLY goes towards something completely different:
She had to re-prioritize b/c she was fumbling for her cell phone & ended up crashing her SUV on the side of the freeway, bumping her head & ending up with a condition called "Left Neglect."
Frighteningly, left neglect is an actual brain trauma injury where the person wakes up and forgets that the left side exists. To anything. Like, you're looking at your house & you only notice the right side of the house. But you also don't realize anything's missing. You think that's the way your house has always been.
This injury, of course, makes Ms. Nickerson pretty alarmed & frustrated & the majority of the book is about her recovering & realizing that her life is never going to be the same.
I would say this book is all right. It's not amazing, it's not particularly elegant, & Sarah can be pretty annoying. Most people, however, are annoying at one time or another, and waking up with a traumatic head injury is probably one of the best reasons for getting pissy.
I would recommend this book if you like books that revolve around the medical community or if you like chick lit or if you're really bored & can get your hands on it, for free. Otherwise... you might want to pass.