Book Club - Left Neglected

Aug 15, 2014

This past month our local Book Club read the novel "Left Neglected" by Lisa Genova.
8492768 This was truely an amazing novel. It was beautifully and simply written, which made it easy to follow and hard to put down. I read it while we were camping and would sit on my blanket at the park while M played.

It was interesting to read about the main character, Sarah, both before and after her accident. I didn't know such an illness as "left neglect" existed. It was interesting to read about the self absorbed work aholic and then how the accident changed her. This novel reminded me that we should all slow down sometimes and enjoy life, and that you never know when something life changing such as a car accident could happen. I liked how all the characters in the novel had their own personalities, and the author intertwined them beautifully! To Charlie's ADHD and her mothers own emotional problems, as well as her husbands love
and compassion for his partner, they were just well rounded beautiful characters! 

Our book club discussed the questions as follows:

1. Is Sarah better off at the end of the novel than at the beginning? If so, in what ways?

2. Sarah has a series of anxious dreams in the nights leading up to the accident. How would you interpret these dreams? What do you think her subconscious is trying to tell her?

3. Is Sarah a better mother before or after the crash? How do you think she would answer that question? Consider the amount of time she spends with her kids, her ability to keep track of them, and the level of participation in their lives.

4. The second time Sarah and Bob meet with Charlie's teacher about his progress in class, they learn that he is the target of some bullying. Ms. Gavin tells them many children experience this whether or not they have disabilities. Do you agree with Charlie's teacher? Do disabilities like ADHD make a child more of a target than other kids?

5. Sarah's Type A personality seems like it should help her through her physical therapy, but her friend and therapist Heidi believes she needs to stop trying to "win" and learn how to "adjust." Do you agree? Do you think by adjusting to her new limitations, Sarah holds herself back from a quicker recovery?

6. If Sarah had recovered completely, do you think she would have gone back to her high pressured job at Berkley Consulting?

7. While Sarah is in the rehabilitation hospital, she and Heidi trade watches, even though Sarah's is clearly the more valuable of the two. Toward the end of the novel, Sarah notes that Heidi is still wearing her expensive watch, but never asks for it back. Why do you think she doesn't reclaim her watch?

8. After Sarah's accident, Bob uses his cell phone at least once while driving in the car with Sarah and their kids. Why do you think he does that? Do we sometimes make exceptions for ourselves and do something unhealthy or risky in the interest of saving time or getting more done (like texting or using a cell phone while driving) even when we know it is dangerous? Why do you think that is?

9. At one point Bob argues that he doesn't think Vermont is a place to live full time when they are young. He sees it as a place to spend their retirement. Do you agree? What are the benefits of living and raising a family in a suburban setting versus a rural one?

10.Which character do you identify with the most? Which the least? Who is your favorite?

11.Is Sarah's mother's response to Nate's death understandable or unreasonable?

12.What did Sarah miss out on by having such a withdrawn mother? If her mother had been more available, do you think Sarah would be as high achieving?

13.Sarah's trauma gives her a chance to reconnect with her estranged mother. Why is it so hard for Sarah to forgive her mother?

14.Can working mothers really have it all—a successful career, well-adjusted children, a great marriage, a sense of well-being, and personal happiness? Or is that a myth? Does something always have to give?

15.Sarah's work/life balance before her disability is weighted toward work, whereas after it is weighted toward her family. How would you categorize your own work-life balance? Does Left Neglected make you reconsider any of your career decisions?

16.The back cover states that the novel is "about what we ignore and neglect in ourselves, in our families, and in the world around us." What do you think you are neglecting in your life? Yourself? Your relationships? Your home? Your job?

Back from Holidays

Aug 14, 2014

Well, we are back from camping two weeks earlier than planned, and I'm back at work this week.. insert "waa, waa" here.

I just couldn't do another two weeks of camping with my big pregnant belly anymore. I know I'm going to have a large baby, and it feels like its most likely going to be an early baby just the way that he/she has dropped already and is putting so much pressure down there. We ended up home last Friday, and I had a 3km walk with a friend in the local marathon run Saturday morning which I came dead last in, but at 33 weeks pregnant it was good enough for me! I feel like I've been in nesting mode since!

I've made to do lists, started canning and freezing food for baby, and straightening up the house. If only I could motivate D to start cleaning up his office and moving it into the basement! Maybe that will be my next week project, in all fairness I'm not exactly excited for that move as I will end up losing my sewing room.

We did have a great time camping non-the-less. We had amazing weather, lots of good company, and M did great in his swimming lessons! I actually couldn't believe how much he paid attention and loved the water. His teacher was the best, she could sing songs with them and get them to go on treasure hunts and she was truely an amazing person! I feel truely blessed to have taken off the two weeks from work to be able to participate with him in his lessons! I can't wait for next year's lessons already :)

Anyway, should get back to life, cheers!

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