Sunday, July 3, 2011

Road Reads

This past week my husband and I headed to Arizona for one of our "bucket list" destinations, the Grand Canyon. Of course, I packed more than enough to read on the way, but I have to admit that the scenery on the trip was so overwhelming that I didn't bury my nose in a book for most of the car trip. I did, however, have plenty of plane time during the cross-country trip.

On the way there, I finished Lisa Genova's new novel Left Neglected. Her novel Still Alice, about a woman with early onset Alzheimer's was so beautifully written. The author's expertise as a Harvard-educated neuroscientist brings a credibility to her books, but her writing holds up literarily as well. In this novel, the main character Sarah Nickerson who, with her husband's help, balances a family and a powerful, high-powered career until a car accident leaves her with a serious brain injury called left neglect. Because of injuries to the right side of her brain, she can't use--or even see- her right arm, right leg; she can't see food on the left side of her plate or people on the left side of her room.

The drama in the book comes not only from the changes to Sarah, but the changes in family dynamics. Her mother, who practically disappeared from life after losing a son in a drowning accident, comes back into her daughter's life. Genova introduces a group that helps handicapped individuals to ski, and she provides information at the conclusion of the book.

Both of Genova's books could easily have veered into maudlin tear-jerkers, but instead, both presented women who faced tremendous life-changing events with dignity.

Check back in a day or two for my review of Nicole Krauss' Great House. For my review of Ann Patchett's State of Wonder from the Raleigh News and Observer, check this link.

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