There is nothing particularly remarkable about the way Lisa Genova writes, but for some reason I couldn’t put her novel Left Neglected down. My life is nothing like the main character’s: I’m not married; I don’t have any children; I’m not especially career driven, nor do I dream about having a big house in the suburbs; and my brain doesn’t ignore information on the left side of the world. Yet I was completely and utterly engrossed in Sarah Nickerson’s journey to recovery from a traumatic brain injury.
I had never heard of the fascinating neurological syndrome Left Neglect until I picked up this book, but apparently it’s quite common. Lisa Genova has a PhD in neuroscience and obviously did extensive research on the syndrome in order to write about it.
I found myself covering my left eye at times to try to understand what it would be like to think that the left side of the page I am reading or the food on the left side of my plate doesn’t exist because my brain can’t register it. I tried to imagine not being able to feel my left arm or leg, as if these limbs were separate from the rest of me, as if they belonged to someone else entirely.
It was Jodi Picoult’s rave review printed on the cover of Left Neglected that made me want to read this book. I’m glad I did. While there are many differences between Sarah and I, there is one key experience I could relate to, and this is what I loved most about her story: I understand what it’s like to have your life changed forever in an instant; everything you have to adjust to and adjust within yourself as a result; and how, no matter what difficulties you must now face, you can always find the hidden blessing if you allow yourself to really look.
What books have you picked up just because another author you like has recommended it? Did you agree with their praise?