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Left Neglected | [Lisa Genova]

Left Neglected

Sarah Nickerson is like any other career-driven supermom in Welmont, the affluent Boston suburb where she leads a hectic but charmed life with her husband Bob, faithful nanny, and three children—Lucy, Charlie, and nine-month-old Linus.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Wife, mother, and hyper-driven, multitasking Sarah Nickerson, a 37-year-old Harvard Business School grad, is so controlled she limits her crying to five minutes twice a month behind her office desk. She travels to China on business, and still signs permission slips on time. Left Neglected, by Lisa Genova, discerningly chronicles Sarah both before and after a devastating brain injury blots out the left side of her world. Actor Sarah Paulson, always an incandescent force, narrates here with such disarming openness that Left Neglected — superficially about a preppy modern mommy of three finding grace through catastrophe — gathers enough texture to unfold a richly moving rebirth.

Left Neglected is easy to latch onto, largely because Paulson projects Sarah Nickerson as endearingly insecure and goofy. By pebbling her pre-car crash, pre-head trauma Sarah voice with urgency and strain, Paulson revs up pacing to mirror the choking rhythms of her character’s hurried schedule. Yet the recovering Sarah is looser and less uncensored as Paulson unknots her anxious cadences in a gradual fade. We relax around this Sarah who cracks pun-laced jokes with her rehab therapists and grieves as deeply for the skinny jeans she can no longer button at the waist, as having to relearn using the bathroom alone.

While Left Neglected is Sarah’s story, Paulson astutely rescues the ensemble players — Sarah’s jittery, apologetic mother Helen, and her innately decent husband Bob — from the fringes. She pitches Bob as honorable and magnetic in his own right, a cool guy whose empathy eventually collapses into panicked resentment as Sarah’s lost income capsizes the family finances. Helen, on the other hand, begs to be Sarah’s rock, atoning for her indifference the last 30 years. “My life can be fully lived with less,” Sarah observes, well into her healing journey. And for us, too, this reclaimed state of blessedness feels lasting and true. —Nita Rao

Publisher's Summary

Sarah Nickerson is like any other career-driven supermom in Welmont, the affluent Boston suburb where she leads a hectic but charmed life with her husband Bob, faithful nanny, and three children—Lucy, Charlie, and nine-month-old Linus.

Between recruiting the best and brightest minds as the vice president of human resources at Berkley Consulting; shuttling the kids to soccer, day care, and piano lessons; convincing her son’s teacher that he may not, in fact, have ADD; and making it home in time for dinner, it’s a wonder this over-scheduled, over-achieving Harvard graduate has time to breathe.

A self-confessed balloon about to burst, Sarah miraculously manages every minute of her life like an air traffic controller. Until one fateful day, while driving to work and trying to make a phone call, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In the blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her jam-packed life come to a screeching halt.

A traumatic brain injury completely erases the left side of her world, and for once, Sarah relinquishes control to those around her, including her formerly absent mother. Without the ability to even floss her own teeth, she struggles to find answers about her past and her uncertain future.

Now, as she wills herself to regain her independence and heal, Sarah must learn that her real destiny—her new, true life—may in fact lie far from the world of conference calls and spreadsheets. And that a happiness and peace greater than all the success in the world is close within reach, if only she slows down long enough to notice.

©2011 Lisa Genova (P)2011 Simon & Schuster

What the Critics Say

"Imagine your too busy, over scheduled, Type A life coming to a screeching halt. That is what happens in Lisa Genova's timely new novel, Left Neglected. As her protagonist, Sarah Nickerson, works her way through a devastating brain injury and back into that hectic life, she is forced to re-evaluate what really matters. I dare any reader to not do the same in their own lives after reading this book." (Ann Hood)

"Devastating and hopeful, haunting and familiar, Left Neglected is a triumph of insight and empathy." (Stefan Merrill Block, international best-selling author of The Story of Forgetting and The Storm at the Door)

“Once again, Lisa Genova goes where few authors dare, and mines a compelling and beautifully written story about finding peace, wisdom and human connection. While Sarah Nickerson’s condition is rare, her journey is universal. “ (Lynn Kiele Bonasia, author of Summer Shift)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (213 )
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4.2 (119 )
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Performance
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  •  
    MissSusie66 02-11-11
    MissSusie66 02-11-11 Member Since 2010

    MissSusie

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    "Another hit for Lisa Genova"

    Another great book from Lisa Genova, how she gets into these people's minds is just amazing. And how awful it would be to think you have no left side and there is no world on your left, heartbreaking and fascinating all at the same time.
    Lisa Genova is an amazing writer because she takes you into the inner workings of a broken mind and makes you understand what they are feeling and going through.

    The struggles Sarah goes through I can’t even imagine because who could imagine having left neglect, but you feel for her and struggle with her and cry with her and cheer for her. One thing I liked better in this one than Still Alice was Sarah had a supportive husband, Bob wasn’t perfect but he was there for her through it all. Also to see the relationship with Sarah and her estranged mother develop into what it did was very touching.

    I enjoyed this book very much as I said it was fascinating to learn about this kind of brain injury.
    Great Narration!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Goffstown, NH, United States 11-06-12
    Sandra Goffstown, NH, United States 11-06-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Left Neglected"

    The audio was well done. I enjoyed the way in which Sarah Paulson was able to translate the feelings/state of mind of the main character throughout the story. Left Neglected is interesting and unique. This story reminded me to focus on the important things in life: loved ones and my own happiness. It is well worth a listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana United States 10-01-12
    Diana United States 10-01-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A very moving story!"
    Where does Left Neglected rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Left Neglected is probably the most enjoyable book I've listened to on Audible.com. I highly recommend this audible book to anyone who loves a "bring you up" story that makes you feel good after you've read it.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characters seem very real, not exotic, but like people we might know in our own lives.


    What about Sarah Paulson’s performance did you like?

    I really enjoyed listening to her. Her voice is easy to listen to and she made the main character seem believable. I think one of the main reasons I choose Left Neglected to listen to on Audible was the way Sarah Paulson's narration was so captivating and so pleasing to the ear. I would love to listen to another book she narrates.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I felt that this was a story of a strong and very determined woman, a person who has much feeling and also who learns to "stop and smell the roses" while experiencing a very serious crisis in her life. My heart felt good after listening to it.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Sisters, OR, United States 07-23-12
    Barbara Sisters, OR, United States 07-23-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Another brain plot"
    Where does Left Neglected rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    About a 6-7


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Well of course, the main character, but I did love her husband's loyalty and her mother stepping in


    Have you listened to any of Sarah Paulson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, Still Alice, which was outstanding


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Well she does make me cry with her deep thoughts and character development, but laughing is always a part of her writing.


    Any additional comments?

    Her characters are so well developed, and her narrative is excellent. Comparing the son's struggles to the mother's was most touching.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Mesquite, TX, United States 04-26-11
    Rebecca Mesquite, TX, United States 04-26-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Unlikable Main Character"

    The condition 'Left Neglect' suffered by the main character in this book is extremely fascinating and intriguing, yet the main character herself is completely unlikable. She is a pessimistic narcissist that seems to consider everyone in her life, including her children, a burden. I kept expecting a big change in her, an evolution of character, that never occurred. It seemed she learned nothing from her traumatic experience. My entire book club agreed: interesting condition, horrible main character, so-so book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    glamazon The Coast of Rhode Island 01-06-11
    glamazon The Coast of Rhode Island 01-06-11 Member Since 2003

    glam

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    "Left Neglected?"

    This is nothing like "Still Alice" - no matter how many PhD's you have you can't just pick an obscure syndrome and turn it into a relatable, emotionally affecting story. Few diseases are as frightening as Alzheimer's so "Left Neglected" has a hard act to follow. If Genova does not actually have EOAD and managed to write as intimately about it as she did in "Still Alice" you'd think she'd be up to the task of selecting some other more relatable disease around which to wrap her imagination.

    The story takes forever with its initial laundry list of the perfect life, and the narrator has a lisp.

    21 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn RICHLANDS, VA, United States 04-25-14
    Lynn RICHLANDS, VA, United States 04-25-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Priorities"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Left Neglected to be better than the print version?

    I only listened to the audio version.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Left Neglected?

    When the couple went to dinner on their anniversary and had such a comical time trying to be normal.


    What about Sarah Paulson’s performance did you like?

    Her voice was very real.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    A great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sallie RIVERTON, UT, United States 01-27-14
    Sallie RIVERTON, UT, United States 01-27-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Mind Tricks"

    I have a brain disease also so I was drawn in immediately. I completely understand how frustrating it is to know that what you are seeing is not correct. I wanted to listen to it in one sitting and I was able to get a lot of house cleaning accomplished and the time flew by. I also enjoyed the fact that this is a family of love. The kids were high priority and the husband stuck with her.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LH huddleston, VA, United States 03-05-13
    LH huddleston, VA, United States 03-05-13 Member Since 2011
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    "A wonderful book about a little known condition"
    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Sarah Nickerson because she takes a terrible accident to create a new and more rewarding life for herself and her family.


    What does Sarah Paulson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrator did a very good job of revealing the emotions of each charactor in the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken Chicago, IL 12-08-12
    Ken Chicago, IL 12-08-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Well produced, annoying story"
    What did you like best about Left Neglected? What did you like least?

    The characters were believable, but not likable. It is hard to feel for the protagonist when she is and her husband lie to each other, lie to their kids and lie to themselves. The heavy handed religious epiphany was over the top and if I wasn't in a book club, would have quit the book at that point.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Lisa Genova again?

    No. Lisa is not a very good storyteller. Her characters are two dimensional, fitting the plot like puzzle pieces rather than coming alive with personalities.


    What about Sarah Paulson’s performance did you like?

    She delivers at a good pace, easy to listen to, good enunciation.


    Do you think Left Neglected needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Never.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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