After reading (and loving!) ‘Chasing Windmills’ a while ago, I was thrilled to receive a copy of ‘Second Hand Heart’ to review!
As the title suggests, the book is about a heart transplant…but it is actually a lot more than that. Vida has been fighting for her life since birth, undergoing operation after operation when finally, when she is 19, a heart becomes available…
Recently widowed Richard is curious to meet the girl who received his wife Lorrie’s heart but as soon as he does, things start to spiral out of control for both of them, but not necessarily in a bad way…both characters, linked by the heart, find themselves uncharacteristically rebelling against what other people think they should do, but in doing so…they discover their true heart’s desire.
‘Second Hand Heart’ looks at heart transplants from both perspectives, which is really fascinating to read. Vida’s sections read in a diary-esque way, as she decides to write about her experiences in her ‘blank book’/journal and after speaking to her, Richard’s sections begin to follow suit. By interweaving email conversations into the novel, Ryan Hyde’s writing is bravely bending conventions of the traditional novel. It works really well! She delves into the idea of cellular memory and psychics, whilst focusing primarily on Vida and Richard.
It’s heartbreaking because for one person to live, another has to die…which is not only one of the cruellest formulas, but a miraculous way of bringing something wonderful out of tragedy. The gift of life is the greatest thing that you can give another human being and so many people are alive today because of organ donations.
This is a fantastic book, each journal entry equals a chapter, which means that it’s really easy to read too (and brilliant for tube-readers!). ‘Second Hand Heart’ is a really touching book, Ryan Hyde’s style is evoking, informative and passionate.
Similar to Jodi Picoult in content and writing style but also unique, Catherine Ryan Hyde’s books are wonderful!