Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
Having loved Still Alice and disliked Love Anthony I put off reading this one because I didn't want to be disappointed. However, Left Neglected is excellent, a powerful drama dealing with all the big life questions: Why am I here? What is my purpose? What is really important?, as well as all the nitty-gritty details of daily life with a debilitating illness. A beautiful story, well told and with just enough comic relief to keep it from being overwhelmingly tragic.
Sarah Nickerson is a wife, mother and corporate executive who goes at full speed all the time. Her husband is just as busy with his company, but they have a solid marriage, a healthy family, and they are happy with their lives. Then on her way to work one day Sarah is involved in a serious car accident. She awakens in the hospital, soon realizing that something is horribly wrong. Her brain is suffering from a condition called "left neglect", a state in which it does not recognize the left side of anything. If someone is standing on the left side of the room, she will not see them until they move into her field of vision. It's not that she has a vision problem - here eyes are fine. Her brain just doesn't tell her about the left sides of things. She knows she has a left arm and a left leg, but she doesn't know how to use them because she doesn't know where they are. She eats what's on the right side of her plate but she leaves what's on the left side because she doesn't know it's there. She reads the right side of pages but the text makes no sense without the words to the left.
Her recovery is slow and difficult, the process turning their fast-paced, high-end lifestyle upside down. Can they survive the changes? At what cost to their family? You'll want to read the book to find out. And to learn more about this fascinating condition that I'd never even heard of until I picked up this book. Seriously, this is very, very good book. You won't forget it any more than you could forget Still Alice. And once you do pick it up, you're going to find it very hard to put down.