There are times I enjoy the fact that reading can allow me a mindless escape from everyday living. But there are also times when I enjoy being challenged by reading and forced to examine my opinions and viewpoints on issues to which I don’t regularly give a lot of thought. This Old Heart of Mine was the perfect way to engage in that type of reading experience. In a story bursting with emotion, A.J. Compton explores the subject of organ donation and its impact on both recipients and donors’ family members with thoughtful compassion.
One of my favorite parts of This Old Heart of Mine was the character development. A wide range of relationships from familial to friendship to romantic were portrayed and there was just a very authentic feel to those connections and the way they moved the plot forward. Taking the risk of using a plot twist that had the potential to turn out very clichéd, A.J. put her own spin on it, allowing for greater depth in the story and deeper emotional investment on the part of the reader. I felt every emotion of the main characters as if they were my own.
I am not a huge fan of poetry and was admittedly a bit hesitant to see how that was going to factor into the book as it progressed, but I have to say that A.J. struck a nice balance with incorporating it into the storyline without going overboard and her original poetry was beautiful. This is a novel that celebrates the beauty hidden in the quiet spaces of life, love, and death, and reminds us that while real life is messy and sometimes leaves us with more questions than answers, it’s always worth our full investment. Although This Old Heart of Mine is my first A.J. Compton read, I am happy to report that it definitely won’t be my last.
“I lost you like I loved you, love;
Deeply, endlessly, irrevocably,
And in stages.”
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