Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: Right Side Talking, by Bonnie Rozanski

Right Side Talking
Bonnie Rozanski
Kindle Edition
September 27, 2010
Rating: (Avg 3.5)
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.

The first thing that hooked me to this story was the premise. It's not something that you come across a lot of these days. Being a psychology nut in high school, it intrigued me to no end - to the point where I had to squeeze this review in earlier than scheduled because it wouldn't leave me alone. I was not disappointed.

Told in third person narrative, you follow the main character Anna mostly through the story - though there is a slew of secondary characters attached as well. Anna's journey through the story is the part that help my interest the most, with the murder a close second. Anna was a very believable character that seemed immature at times - however, given her circumstances, I think it's completely justified and didn't take away from the story at all... nor did it deter my opinion of her. Overall, she was a strong and courageous character. I seriously couldn't imagine going through what she did. The secondary characters were developed well enough, though a little more depth would have been nice. I also found her parents a little hard to swallow at times.

The surgery itself made me wish that I was there to see it, or at least experience it via a documentary or episode of House. It wasn't all too graphic, but the procedure and process that the author described was well-researched - or made up well. I can't go into the validity of all of the medical aspects, but it was all descriptive enough to be real if it wasn't. From the surgery to the therapy, to the murder and climatic ending... this book had me up at night, reading until the end.

Although the protagonist is a teen, this book has a more adult feel to it than Young Adult. I'd recommend for a more mature YA audience. If you like medical dramas, mysteries, and psychology reads should definitely give this book a try. It's a shorter read, but makes up for length with dimension.


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