Synopses & Reviews
Engaging, funny, and unflinching essays about coming of age as a transplant patient and living each day as a gift
Adina Talve-Goodman was born with a congenital heart condition and survived multiple operations over the course of her childhood, including a heart transplant at age nineteen. In these seven essays, she tells the story of her chronic illness and her youthful search for love and meaning, never forgetting that her adult life is tied to the loss of another person--the donor of her transplanted heart.
Whether writing about the experience of taking her old heart home from the hospital (and passing it around the Thanksgiving table), a summer camp for young transplant patients, or a memorable night on the town, Talve-Goodman's writing is filled with curiosity, humor, and compassion. Published posthumously, Your Hearts, Your Scars is the work of a writer wise beyond her years, a moving reflection on chance and gratitude, and a testament to hope and kindness.
"This book is so full of life that it's hard to believe the amazing young woman who wrote it is no longer walking among us. Adina has left an indelible mark on this world. Her extraordinary gifts, her irrepressible spirit, live on." Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance and Signal Fires
"Your Hearts, Your Scars tells of hearts broken and whole, hearts always shared — by families, by lovers, by transplant recipients and their donors. The book's incisions expose all these beating hearts and the hearts of Adina's reading public, who can only imagine what this visionary artist would have created next." Rita Charon, MD, PhD, author of Narrative Medicine and The Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine
"Adina's writing is incisive and inventive. The energy coursing through her prose is positively contagious. This is not a book to be missed!" Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Bellevue Literary Review and author of When We Do Harm
"Ponders the precariousness of life for the chronically ill and disabled [in] seven poignant autobiographical essays about living joyfully and looking for love in spite of chronic illness." Shelf Awareness
"[Talve-Goodman] transformed her physical limitations into an outward source of strength, and her vividly drawn essays effectively enlighten and educate....Heartfelt and richly passionate." Kirkus Reviews
"Reflective and forthright....The essays of Your Hearts, Your Scars...explore what it means to be alive, to have a body, and to come back from the brink of death." Foreword Reviews
"Adina Talve-Goodman walked a tightrope, for much of her thirty-one years, between life and death. Perhaps for this reason, Adina embodied life more than any person I've ever met. She lit up rooms with pure joy and kindness and, although this phrase is often overused, to know Adina was to love her. I'm grateful this beautiful book exists, so everyone else can know her, too. Adina was a brilliant writer, and these pages are imbued with her exuberance, her sharp humor, and both versions of her spectacular heart." Ann Napolitano, author of A Good Hard Look and Dear Edward
About the Author
Adina Talve-Goodman (1986-2018) was born in St. Louis with a congenital heart condition and underwent a heart transplant at age nineteen. She went on to graduate from Washington University, and perform internationally at the Academia dell'Arte in Italy and Globe Theater in London. She later become a mentor for Girls Write Now and the managing editor of celebrated literary magazine One Story, and was recognized with the Hadassah Advocacy Award and Bellevue Literary Review Felice Buckvar Prize for Nonfiction. She was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma, caused by post-transplant immunosuppressants, as she was attending the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program and working on what would become her debut collection of essays Your Hearts, Your Scars.