Left Neglected is the story of a woman who, after a car accident, suffers a rare brain disorder called Left Neglect, in which she can’t perceive or be aware of anything on her left side. It sounds weird, but as vividly depicted in this novel, it’s even weirder than it sounds, and the fictional character, just like real-life sufferers, has to work hard to overcome this problem which affects every aspect of her life.
Before the accident, Sarah is living a ridiculously overstuffed life, raising three kids, working eighty hours a week, commuting hours a day to and from work, clearly not living a balanced life but enjoying, to some degree, the juggling act that allows her to keep all balls barely in the air. After the accident, her high-powered job falls apart (she can’t even read what’s on the left side of a page or computer screen, which naturally slows down her work speed) and she has to relearn how to do even the most basic things. Hardest of all, she has to learn to accept help from others, including her estranged mother. And she and her husband have to figure out how to rebuild their lives in a way that accommodates her disability.
Although I thought it was slow to start — too many chapters were spent establishing the hectic, crazy nature of Sarah’s pre-accident life — I found it absorbing once we got into the meat of the story. The novel certainly gives an intriguing and believable glimpse into a little-known neurological disorder, and makes the reader reflect on how weird and complex the brain really is.