Friday, August 19, 2011

The Missing Piece

Within days after I finished Still Alice by Lisa Genova, I was on the phone with my financial planner discussing disability insurance.  Still Alice is the story of an active, over educated woman, in the prime of her life, who develops early onset Alzheimer's disease.  What was really compelling about Alice was that the author, Lisa Genova, knew what she was talking about.  After all, she has a PhD in neuroscience from Harvard.  Genova managed to tell the story of Alice in a way that inspired compassion, and also educated the reader about the disease, while still keeping the story interesting. 

When The Friends Book Group decided to read Left Neglected by Genova, I wondered if I would be calling to increase my coverage.  Left Neglected is the story of Sarah, a super overachieving mother of three, whose life changes when she is in a car crash, and forgets that there is a left side of herself, or anything else.  Sounds bizarre, doesn't it?  As Sarah tries to explain her experience to her husband, the conversation goes like this: 

Sarah:  "Honey, tell me everything you see in here." 
Bob:  [names every item of furniture in the room]
Sarah:  "Is that everything?"
Bob:  "Pretty much"
Sarah:  "Okay, now what if I told you that everything you see is only half of everything that's really here?  What if I told you to turn your head and look at the other half?  Where would you look?"

Left Neglect is a real condition, which, as I understand it, is usually caused by brain trauma.  Left Neglected shows Sarah trying to conquer her neglect, both that in her brain, and that caused by her mother.  While it probably sounds like a medical story, it's really more of a story of a mom realizing that she was living a crazy life, and that she is more than her office persona. 

This book, like Still Alice, is a page turner.  Also, with a side story line of Sarah's struggles to face and manage her son's ADHD, it is a great book for Friends of Different Learners.  Now I just have to wait a month and 2 days to discuss it with them. 

For all you financial planners out there, here's an idea:  keep a few copies of both of Lisa Genova's books on hand and casually pass them out to clients who are on the fence about disability insurance.  Sales are likely to skyrocket!

Next up:  Contested Will by James Shapiro

Still listening to:  The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb

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