Thursday, February 26, 2009

Irreplaceable, a Novel by Stephen Lovely

Have you signed the organ donor form on the back of your license? I couldn't even tell you if I have or not. I've thought about it many times, but shy away from taking that step when I envision scalpels cutting into my comatose body while my family cries at my bedside. After I write this review, I'm going to go make sure I signed the form because I believe that my useless organs should go to help someone who needs them. But thinking about such a scenario is so hard that I've most likely avoided committing to it until now.

Reading Irreplaceable has spurred me to act. Stephen Lovely's novel, Irreplaceable, takes the reader deep into the aftermath of organ donation. The novel opens with a young woman enjoying a vigorous bike ride, looking forward to getting home to her husband. She never makes it home as she is run over by an SUV at the crest of a hill. Although she was only in the book for a few pages, her vitality as she pumps the pedals of the bike remained with me until the last page.

The rest of the novel follows the lives of everyone the accident touched: Isabel's husband, her mother, but also the family of the woman who received Isabel's heart. Nothing is black and white in Irreplaceable. The grief of Isabel's relatives is counter-balanced by the desperation of Janet's death-sentence if she did not receive that heart.

The situation is so tragic that it is sometimes difficult to keep on reading Irreplaceable. This is a book that really made me think and appreciate my good health. I'm very glad I read it.


Chuck Dilmore said...

Thank you for this!


Zip n Tizzy said...

Interesting topic.
Ethically and moraly I believe in organ donation, and plan to be cramated, so don't have any attatchment to my body being in tact for a burial, but, like you, I've always been reluctant to sign when I envision the circumstances in which I would be in this situation. I should read the book.

Jean Bugs said...

I need to get this book now! I am a kidney transplant recipient. (two times, actually) And even though both of my kidneys came from the incredible generosity of friends, others in my family have received kidneys from the selfless generosity of someone they did not know. And that incredible act has given my father, brother and sister more time and a better quality of life; and we've been given the gift of more time with them.
So I'm really glad I saw this book here. Thank you!