Book Review: This Old Heart of Mine

I had very high hopes for this book.   Like “Pieces of Me” this book had a very interesting premise, along with high praise & positive reviews on both Goodreads & Amazon.

I made it next on my list because I was so impressed by the thought & research that went into “Pieces of Me” that I decided I wanted to read more transplant & organ donation oriented stories in other genres in fiction.  I wanted to see how some of these stories compared to some of the nonfiction stories as far as realism or compelling storytelling.  Plus I wanted to try transplant & organ donation as a theme in different genres & settings as an exploration as to what I walk away with versus someone who may know little to nothing. Or may be a friend or know someone with a transplant.

I know I like to read, but having this blog to do reviews with pushes me to do more reading. It makes it easier  for me to focus when I have attention problems because I know I’m trying to soak it in to share & talk about it with others so I’m paying a tad more attention by default.

When I tried writing my first novel (which I have yet to revise & hone) as part of NanoWriMo I think I learned more about what I like to read & why I find it appealing.

I also like studying the thoughts of the writer in how they bring the characters & their world to life.  This was something I always paid attention to before,  but I think after attempting a work of my own I became more attuned as a reader because I know it’s much harder to do than people think it is to write a great story.

That said, I did like how this novel started out because I could tell it was building towards something big with a unique twist.  I also liked that there was elements of romance, but it was not the classic “smut book” romance.

Yet, it bothered me I learned very little about either Ava’s or Finn’s medical conditions & what brought them so close. Not really a mention other than meeting in the hospital.   There could be important elements that shape someone’s experience without it being the prime focus.

It just didn’t feel realistic to not have any mention whatsoever of any medical problems. It didn’t have to be focused to touch on it and inform us about the characters.

While I understand the thoughts of the author & what she was going for with living life to the fullest, or living for the donor, there are certain things that should have been researched more fully & delved into deeper to provide an accurate picture of post transplant life.

Again, I go back to “Pieces of Me” because the author admits to accelerating some things, but she did give an overall glimpse into the characters being healthier after transplant but making trade-offs or sometimes struggling both physically & emotionally instead of transplant being a magic cure or antidote.

This is a swing in the opposite direction, it’s almost like the character & her friend just do whatever they want. When they want. They also seem to have unlimited energy, which not all transplant recipients do (or at least definitely not in the timeframes that the author sets up).

All of it is very superficial, as if the transplant stories are just a convenient or interesting backdrop or convenient mention instead of adding depth.

I hate being so hard on it because I do see what the author is going for…it’s just not there.

To avoid spoilers, I’ll just say I was really annoyed with the second half of the book, because it does seem to foster some stereotypes & stigmas of both transplant & donation.

I found the main character, Ava, to be written in a style where she is so sure of herself or so she thinks, is all head-over-heels over this man & then the crisis hits and she blows it all up & falls apart.

Granted, what she finds out is a world-rocker to someone (& quite unlikely to happen) but there were clues that led up to it that she blatantly ignored.

I had similar gripes with these types of portrayals in books like “Twilight”.

It’s written almost as if she’s saying “I’m a strong female, but not really (I’m faking til I make it)….then I find myself AFTER my world blows up.   But I only find myself because of heartbreak. Or I need a man or love to bring it out of me.  It would be hard to find myself on my own within myself.

I found the love interest overly brooding & a bit of a jerk.  I understand it  & it makes sense later, but it took me a long time to find out why he was so appealing to her, other than the fact he was older & poet.

It all ties itself up in a neat little bow at the end, which I don’t know is that realistic either.  Especially since he was able to hide the “bombshell” at the heart of the book (no pun intended) for much longer than what would seem normal or healthy in a relationship between people who profess to be soulmates.

I just came away with this really falling flat.  I think it was a noble effort, but I think more research into both transplant and donation would have added to the story & grounded it some more.

It also seemed to me that it just told half the story.  I felt myself kind of struggling to fill in the blanks on some of the character’s firsts at times as far as experiences…. was she extremely sheltered, living in a cave, naive, dumber than a box of rocks, or what? Some of her “never had before’s” seemed a bit out there & unrealistic.

I wasn’t sorry I read it, it just fell short of what I’d hoped.

But the premise was definitely interesting & made me want to read it.

I just didn’t like or agree with how it all unfolded.

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “Book Review: This Old Heart of Mine

  1. Nikki, another great read. For some reason, I feel Misty may have something to do with me reading your blogs. I documented everything dealing with my first husband’s illness from liver disease which eventually led to a liver transplant. After a year of not healing like his transplant doctor felt he should be healing, they tested him for hep c. Before transplant, the hep c tests showed inconclusive. It was after transplant that the testing had improved and this time he tested positive. My husband was a poet. While waiting for his transplant, we decided to self publish a book of his poetry to help with housing as we needed to move to Tucson for three months. Our church sponsored us. The hep c eventually won over the new new liver. We had him for a little over four years, so we are thankful for that. I would like to mail you one of his poetry books. It has inspired a lot of people. I am writing my memoirs with him (Dale), but haven’t worked on it for a while. I was wondering where I was going with it. I’m not sure if I want to go in to detail about his transplant experience or not. I will read “Pieces of Me”. Maybe it will inspire me to finish my book. So if you want me to mail you a book, just let me know.

    Liked by 2 people

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