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bookbuffet features Passion

abstract:It's almost a cliché—mention heart transplant and we imagine dramatic deathbed scenarios with life-altering passion at their core. What is striking, and frankly somewhat surprising given its title, is that Stephen Lovely couches his heart-transplant story, Irreplaceable, in the lives of very ordinary and occasionally unlikeable characters. This is the February book review from the good folks at website, a source for consulting, speaking, training and mentoring women at all stages of balancing education, career, family and life.


February 23, 2009
— It is, of course, because the organ being transplanted in this story is a heart that we approach the drama embedded in the medicine looking for deep passion. Certainly, losing a loved one for the absence of a liver or kidney donor is equally as tragic, but not nearly as poetic, as loss caused by a dysfunctional heart. Against that backdrop of love, hearts and passion, Lovely serves up flawed, imperfect characters that make us claw at the pages in search of something about them that we can love. There are slivers of likeability hidden in the pages, in Bernice, the mother of the heart donor, who grieves the loss of her daughter from her life cocoon, and desperately seeks some surviving part of her daughter in Janet, the heart recipient, and in Alex, the widower of the donor, who we applaud when he cannot forgive the repulsive and irresponsible Jasper, the driver who collided with Isabel and her bike.

When we wade through the layers of loss and redemption in Irreplaceable, we discover that the true heart of this story is the inverse of passion—it is grief. Where passion has taken hold, and then that passion is lost, grief surfaces as its replacement. Grief oozes in to fill the void. In the words of poet Kahlil Gibran "Your joy is your sorrow unmasked....When you are sorrowful look again into your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."

We experience another grief, as the flip-side of a different passion, when we enjoy passion in our careers and then lose that career. Whether we step away from a career we love, are laid off, or opt our of the workforce to raise children, we grieve the loss of a career that triggered passion in us. That motherhood offers its own joys and passions in no way diminishes that our careers also are or were sources of passion, and that a part of us mourns when we separate ourselves from our professional identities. It is right to grieve that loss, as it is good to remember that unlike someone lost to a tragic accident or a failed heart for whom there is no donor heart available, lost or foregone careers can be re-birthed, rediscovered, and re-invented. Career-loss grief can be overcome. Career passion can be re-ignited.

This column is by founders Marguerite Dorn, Esq. and Carol O'Day, Esq. Check-out their website and book them for a talk at your next PTA, staff meeting, or women's support group meeting. They offer speaking, training, consulting and mentoring. Browse TheNewHavingItAll bibliography of books. It's an excellent compilation for every phase women face today in the quest to balance work, family and self-fulfillment.



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