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Irreplaceable by Stephen Lovely


by Stephen Lovely

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Isabel was an organ donor, and her death sets in motion events in two families, in two states: for her mother Bernice and husband Alex, the pain of losing her; for Janet Corcoran and family, a brand new lease on life with a new heart.

I had a really tough time with this book, not least because I had to finish it for book discussion and was feeling ornery as a result. I didn't particularly like anyone, though I sympathized most with Alex, and I was extremely frustrated with everyone sort of putting pressure on him to meet Janet. Leaving aside the fact that organ donors and recipients' families are anonymous... well, no I can't really leave that aside, because without them intersecting there's basically no point to this book. Alex has his moments of being obnoxious, too, and I was a little disconcerted by the weird relationship he has with his mother-in-law. And Jasper - the man who was driving the car that hit Isabel - was just awful. I hated him. I'm not a huge fan of stories told in present tense, and never got into the story enough to forget that this one was. Finally, the way the narration would just suddenly tell me what a character was thinking or feeling was very jarring. The medical descriptions were really where the writing was at its best; everything else felt like window dressing for the Great Point the author was trying to make. ( )
  bell7 | Mar 14, 2015 |
Good book but on many levels so wrong. Transplant is such a huge issue and the 2 families should not have met. The interesting twist with the person responsible for the accident as well. I am not sure this book will encourage people to be donors.
The medical stuff was spot on.
  shazjhb | May 14, 2010 |
This book presented an enormous number of different opinions about organ transplants. Seen through the eyes and emotions of those left behind and of the recipient and her family, of one organ in particular, the heart, it's really an eye-opening view of perhaps many things that you either didn't know or never really thought about before. Add to that a couple of extraneous beings in the story, one of which is a dog, and you have an interwoven and complicated event that has a beginning and a potential ending sometime in the future. ( )
  nyiper | Mar 3, 2010 |
Organ transplants are quite different than other medical procedures, in that, except for the cases of live transplants, possible for some organs, when someone receives a transplant and a new chance for life, someone else has died. What is the cause of celebration for one family, is the result of a terrible tragedy for another. When someone receives a transplant, it is not the happy ending of the story, but just the beginning for all those involved. In Irreplaceable, we are presented with a view into both sides of the experience, those that lost someone they loved, and those that were saved from losing the one they love, someone on the verge of death. Actually, we get a glimpse of a third party as well, the man that caused the death and set it all in motion.

The book opens with Isabel, out on the open road in rural Iowa, on her bicycle for the first ride after a long winter. The weather is starting to turn for the worse, getting windy, the sky getting gray, a ominous storm rolling in. A truck crests the hill; she, a little too far into the lane, is unseen by the driver...and for those that love her, a nightmare has begun. For others, a life has been saved from certain death. It is a life saving gift, but a gift with a price, for everyone involved.
No, the transplant was in no way the end of the story.

This is Mr. Lovely's first book and it is a very good one. His ability to capture the emotions of these different characters is skillful. He is able, on the one hand, to educate the reader about the whole issue of organ transplantation while on the other hand never losing sight of the very personal repercussions these decisions will have for all involved. As medical science becomes able to do more and more, we can never forget the human and emotional cost...because one day it may be someone we love, or ourselves, asked to pay that price.

So just ignore the book cover, which I thought was very misrepresentative, pick up this book and I think you will be happy you did. ( )
  caitemaire | Feb 26, 2009 |
Can't believe this is the author's first book. I loved the whole concept of looking and feeling the role of each character in the book. It was amazing the impact on each persons life a donor heart made. So many angles to the book with great depth! ( )
  MargaretdeBuhr | Feb 23, 2009 |
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On a windy April afternoon, a young woman bicycles along a stretch of Iowa highway, hurrying to get home in time for dinner... So begins this story about two families whose lives intersect forever in the aftermath of a tragic accident.

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Hyperion and Voice

2 editions of this book were published by Hyperion and Voice.

Editions: 1401322824, 1401341217

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