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One move to America, one surprise pregnancy and a lot of fun later.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Left Neglected

Sarah Nickerson, like any other working mom, is busy trying to have it all. One morning while racing to work and distracted by her cell phone, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In that blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her over-scheduled life come to a screeching halt. After a brain injury steals her awareness of everything on her left side, Sarah must retrain her mind to perceive the world as a whole. In so doing, she also learns how to pay attention to the people and parts of her life that matter most.
In this powerful and poignant New York Times bestseller, Lisa Genova explores what can happen when we are forced to change our perception of everything around us. Left Neglected is an unforgettable story about finding abundance in the most difficult of circumstances, learning to pay attention to the details, and nourishing what truly matters.

This was a new author to me and what a find.  I love the way she writes as it flows so well and it has just the right amount of emotion without being soppy and over emotional despite a really difficult subject.  What made it an even better read was finding out about Left Neglect and how it is a very real neurological disorder (see more below).  It was hard to really appreciate the workings of this disorder as I kept thinking "but how could someone just not see the left side of themselves"  but it is real and people are trying to live with it.

I could truly relate to the main character, Sarah as I used to live for my job and worked all the hours in the world thinking that work was the most important thing in my life.  I then gave it all up to move continents and ended  up becoming a stay at home Mother.  So while, my life change was by choice and not thrust upon me by a tragic accident, I could really appreciate what she was going through.  I could also slightly empathise with her condition having seen my Father lose the power in his left side through a series of strokes. 

For me this was an emotional read as it struck a number of still raw nerves but somehow the author still made it a very enjoyable read.  She didn't go for the "Hollywood" happy ending that I suspected would happen at first.  It was a novel that I could just not put down and I had to set aside all other chores just to finish it. 

My one criticism is that it wasn't long enough as I thought there was a lot more to the story but then again, if she had stretched it out I would probably be complaining about it being to long and overwritten - no pleasing some people.  So, I guess, I preferred it to be the way it is and leaving the reader with a lot of thought and without all "issues" being nicely resolved.

A great read for everyone and a definite 5 out of 5 for me.  Not life changing but just a really well written novel and a good story.

What is Left Neglect

Hemispatial neglect, also called hemiagnosia, hemineglect, unilateral neglect, spatial neglect, unilateral visual inattention, hemi-inattention or neglect syndrome is a neuropsychological condition in which, after damage to one hemisphere of the brain is sustained, a deficit in attention to and awareness of one side of space is observed. It is defined by the inability for a person to process and perceive stimuli on one side of the body or environment that is not due to a lack of sensation. Hemispatial neglect is very commonly contralateral to the damaged hemisphere, but instances of ipsilesional neglect (on the same side as the lesion) have been reported.

Hemispatial neglect results most commonly from brain injury to the right cerebral hemisphere, causing visual neglect of the left-hand side of space. Right-sided spatial neglect is rare because there is redundant processing of the right space by both the left and right cerebral hemispheres, whereas in most left-dominant brains the left space is only processed by the right cerebral hemisphere. Although most strikingly affecting visual perception ('visual neglect'), neglect in other forms of perception can also be found, either alone, or in combination with visual neglect.
For example, a stroke affecting the right parietal lobe of the brain can lead to neglect for the left side of the visual field, causing a patient with neglect to behave as if the left side of sensory space is nonexistent (although they can still turn left). In an extreme case, a patient with neglect might fail to eat the food on the left half of their plate, even though they complain of being hungry. If someone with neglect is asked to draw a clock, their drawing might show only numbers 12 to 6, or all 12 numbers on one half of the clock face, the other side being distorted or left blank. Neglect patients may also ignore the contralesional side of their body, shaving or adding make-up only to the non-neglected side. These patients may frequently collide with objects or structures such as door frames on the side being neglected.

1 comment:

  1. Really liked this one too Hazel, suggest Still Alice by this author too & would love to hear your thoughts on it.

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net