Book: Left Neglected
Author: Lisa Genova
Published: 2011(Gallery Books)
There’s a certain kind of matte-finished book jacket painted with still life that’s supposed to be vaguely symbolic of the story within but mostly reminds you of when your mother dragged you to a bunch of interior design stores because she was redecorating her living room and wanted your input. It’s generic trying to disguise itself as profound. In my experiences, these book jackets do their advertising jobs well; the stories tend toward premises that look cool but are slathered with all the intellectual complexity and emotional subtly of a Hallmark Channel movie.
That is how a book about a workaholic recovering from a rare brain disorder becomes boring.
Left neglect is where a person ignores the left side of their world because a part of their right brain is damaged. Fascinating, right? And rare, and rich with weird physical and psychological challenges, right? Not according to this account of an overworked mom who prattles on about her busy by reciting from a big business trope list without bothering to add her personal details. When she gets into a car accident that literally slows her down to about a quarter of her normal speed, the author lapses into healing family clichés about staying slowed down for good.
I just…y’all, these books wear me out. They make me feel guilty for wanting a sick person to be much more interesting, then they make me question my guilt issues because I’m feeling guilty about a fictional character, then they make me reassert my true hatred for said character because everything works out in the end because she willed it to be so through family rifts and financial crises that in any other universe would require more than her wanting to fully heal. It’s not that this isn’t realistic (although it isn’t). It’s that the dramatic obstacles melt like cotton candy, without any effort, and leave just as saccharine an aftertaste. I HATE cotton candy.
Points for the subtle title pun, though.