Left Neglected, Lisa Genova


Lisa Genova's second novel tells the story of Sara Nickerson who, because of a traumatic injury to the right side of her brain, suffers from “Left Neglected,’’ also known as hemi spatial. The damage completely erases control of the left side of her body.

Sarah is a hyper-active, ambitious, 37-year-old mother of three young children. The children are each a challenge in their own way, and their life before the accident was soon going to require a bigger house and some live-in help to enable it to work.

Sara loves her job and works 80 hours a week as a vice president of human resources, commuting to Boston each day.  One Friday morning she looks at her cell phone to find a number and wakes up a week later after brain surgery. 

Her healing process reveals that besides what the loss of everything the left side of her body represents for her, that all the things that, up to this point, have been “left neglected” in her life become clear to her and additional issues that must be dealt with.

Her husband must help her floss her teeth. She can’t dress herself or walk without a cane. She can’t walk in a store or the neighborhood alone because she loses track of direction. Her mother had neglected her for many years, but now she comes forward to help. She begins to heal, but it seems to tie to her efforts to deal with those things in her life formerly neglected.  

Sarah intelligence remains intact, but she has been a workaholic and now struggles with the concept of not scoring 100 percent in everything she does in trying to recover.

Genova’s details about the damage done, and the therapy needed, blends into her personal needs and other life issues. Sarah’s change as a person suggests that she likely will be a better person when her recovery is complete to the point that it can be.

Lisa Genova has written 5 books with her newest one, “Every Note Played” being released this March 20th, 2018.  “Still Alice” had a movie made about it and has been considered her best. This new book may well be her best. See the review on this web site on March 22.


“I smile, loving him for changing with me, for going where my Neglect has taken us, for getting the new me.”  

“To me, meditation sounds a whole lot like doing nothing. I don’t do nothing. I pack every second of every day with something that can get done.” 

“I know this looks pathetic, but I’m wearing black elastic-waist pants just like my mother’s, a hot-pink fleece hat, mismatched socks, and no makeup. I think it’s safe to say that vanity is no longer my biggest concern.”

 “Buttoning the length of my shirt with Left Neglect and one right hand takes the same kind of singular, intricate, held-breath concentration that I imagine someone trying to dismantle a bomb would need to have.”

Left Neglected
By Lisa Genova