Left Neglected

My fam!

I finished the book, Left Neglected by Lisa Genova tonight.  I am not a voracious reader of books, and if I do like them, they are usually biographies or non-fiction (I stick with New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly magazine articles).  But this book hit home for me.  Hmmm, I don’t know why?  It couldn’t be because the main character reminds me so much of me? Sarah Nickerson is a working mom with three kids trying to juggle an 80 hour workweek with kids’ activities and a hubby all while keeping joy and spontaneity in her life.  When that life crashes at her knees and she cannot continue to go ten miles a minute, she is forced to face her relationship with her mom, her addiction to her blackberry and email, and her manic, crazed life.  

Genova’s writing flows so easily and I felt instantly connected with Sarah and her fears, anxieties, and dreams.  I loved her description of Sarah helping her ADHD son do his homework and the thrill she got in taking the time to think of a productive solution to his problem as well as the thrill her son got in getting his homework completed and correct.  Those precious moments carry throughout your life.  I also thought that Genova did a great job at portraying Sarah’s anger towards her mother who failed to pay attention to her as a child due to the death of Sarah’s brother at a young age.  When Sarah has a scare with her own son who could have been struck by a car, she is able to appreciate the pain her mom must have felt all those years after her brother’s death; she gains empathy towards her mom’s situation and in the end, the ability to forgive.  Forgiveness is such a gift.  

The book made me again address what matters most to me.  I need these reminders interspersed throughout my crazed day, week, and month in order to keep me focused on the people and parts of my life that I most enjoy and cherish.  My life is not as crazed as Sarah’s – I have found a job that brings me much flexibility and also stretches my mind to new limits.  But I do have those days when I still think “what am I doing?! Shouldn’t I be working somewhere I could make a real difference?! ”  I will continue to struggle with that question but in the meantime, the bottom line for me is that I am genuinely happy.  I love Maria and Mario to absolute pieces, and cannot imagine a world without their sweet, cherub faces.  I love my husband for being my champion in all that I do, and I love my family and friends for the support and laughs and joy they bring me.  I have it good, and books like Genova make me recognize that over and over again.

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