Right Side Talking by Bonnie Rozanski
Published by Amazon Digital Services on September 27, 2010
Genres: Young Adult
“Imagine that you are a young girl with intractable epilepsy. As a last resort you submit to an operation to sever the connection between the two sides of your brain. Though the operation successfully reduces your seizures, you are left forever with two separate minds: left and right, each unaware of the other.
Imagine further that while recovering in the hospital, you witness a murder. Your dominant left brain cannot recognize unfamiliar faces, and is, therefore, unable to identify the killer. Your right brain can, but is unable to speak. Gradually, painstakingly, the right learns to spell out its thoughts in scrabble letters. At long last, on a table in a hospital lab, you describe the person who committed the crime. Too bad the killer is reading that very same message.….
Right Side Talking is a thriller that will grip the reader from its opening surgery scene to its dramatic courtroom climax. Its cast of characters: a 15-year-old epileptic; a brilliant surgeon; an unlicensed, resentful doctor from abroad who must work as an orderly; a grumpy, relentless detective, and a feisty psychologist Finally, most fascinating of all, there is the human mind itself.”
I should probably prefix this review by saying I had brain surgery when I was a teenager due to uncontrolled epilepsy so when going into a book about a teen girl who had epilepsy having the two hemispheres severed because of said condition, I knew I was bound to critique and be realistically critical. And I was.
Basically, the plot is Anna having brain surgery with her left and right hemispheres unable to communicate to each other making her mind act like a magic eight ball. This is unfortunate, as she is the only witness to a murder but is unable to pick him out of a line. The hospital killing spree is eventually brought to an end after a dramatic court scene
The reader knows from page one who the killer is, so really the reader is learning what happened first hand, while a hospital patient tries to unfog herself while several other members of the hospital staff are targeted.
Now for my rant…
The beginning started out well with an accurate description of an epileptic convolution, but once we got to the surgery itself I became annoyed. First, the parents seemed completely ignorant of what was going on. I understand stress could prove a factor in this but Anna’s parents literally had no clue what type of brain surgery she was having, for all they knew the surgeon could have been preforming a double lobotomy and would not have been the wiser. Second was her recovery time. Besides her hemispheres being separated and having difficulty communicating with each other (okay I’ll give her slack there). Yes, she was having appropriate therapy lessons for the recent disturbance of her brain; but she is fifteen and walking the hallways by herself and boarding the bus alone (isn’t she suppose to have memory problems? Whose to say she won’t get lost along the way?) Plus, she was a minor, it just seemed inappropriate.
As I said before, this novel was very accurate on the topic of epilepsy but having gone through similar experiences I was overly critical. Although, as far as thrillers go it definitely had me riveted with a twist at the end over the disgruntled, hospital killer. Overall, it was a good read and a huge chunk of the time didn’t necessarily focus on her condition but always loomed in the background. Despite my complaints I still had a hard time tearing my eyes away from my Kindle making it a reasonable good read.