Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What's really beging forgotten in Lisa Genova's 'Left Neglected' ?

OK, I've finally come up for air.
I've had my nose buried in a book more than usual of late. Back-to-back trips to the book sale at Euclid Library will do that. I mean, come on, $2 for a bag of books. How can I say no to that??
And I made some wonderful finds.
First on the list is "Left Neglected" by Lisa Genova. I thoroughly enjoyed her "Still Alice" and vividly remember its portrait of a 50 something college professor battling Alzheimer's.
I was not disappointed with this tale of Sarah, a successful career woman who seemingly has it all left coping with a condition in which she forgets there is a left side.
(Can you tell Genova has a PhD in neuroscience?)
Aside from my fascination with the medical condition, I felt a kinship with Sarah. It wasn't all that long ago that my kids were young enough that our world was the kind of very scheduled one in which nothing can go wrong or everything will tumble down. What mom working outside the home hasn't felt that tug of wanting to be one place when she's the other? Of feeling judged by the moms who aren't dropping their child off in a mad dash to get somewhere else? Of feeling she's letting everyone down? Of neglecting someone or something?
As Sarah describes it:
"But even with all my years of training and experience, my determined work ethic, and the ability to simultaneously eat, type and talk, the hardness of it all does sometimes get overwhelming. There are days when there's no room for error, no time for lunch or to pee, no extra minutes to squeeze one more of anything out of me. On those days, I feel like a balloon blown to capacity, ready to burst."
And I know that's not an emotion unique to moms of young children!
But in Genova's skillful hands, Sarah's story is not simply an overworked mom with an unusual medical condition. It's the story of marital struggles, of mother-child relationships, of reconnecting not only with your loved ones but with yourself.

Drop me a line if you'd like to read it for yourself. I'm happy to share.

Listen as Genova describes the condition of left neglect.

Connect with me on Twitter at @triciaambrose


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