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Iron Heart: The True Story of How I Came Back from the Dead

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  371 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
On the way home from swim practice, eighteen-year-old athlete Brian Boyle’s future changed in an instant when a dump truck plowed into his Camaro. He was airlifted to a shock-trauma hospital. He had lost sixty percent of his blood, his heart had moved across his chest, and his organs and pelvis were pulverized. He was placed in a medically-induced coma. When Brian finally ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 15th 2011 by Skyhorse Publishing (first published October 1st 2009)
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Haleigh Johnson 1.Yes, because there are people out there praying for you. Even though he doesn’t know what happened he is still fighting everyday.

2. My family would…more
1.Yes, because there are people out there praying for you. Even though he doesn’t know what happened he is still fighting everyday.

2. My family would be really worried and scared. I think my mom would be really scared because she has been in an accident before than took her friend they were only 19 and in the book he is 18.

3. I would feel really bad about it if I was the dump truck driver because he almost nearly lost his life because of the dump truck. (less)
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4 of 5 stars (very good)

Brian Boyle was a high school athlete who competed on the school swimming and track teams. He was an accomplished swimmer – accomplished enough to earn a scholarship to a local college. He also dreamed of one day competing in a triathlon.

Those dreams seemed to have died off on July 6, 2007 when he was severely injured in an automobile accident. There is no need to list all of the injuries suffered here, as Brian does that during this account of his story.
Nov 22, 2014 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who enjoy reading autobiographies
I attended an event at my work featuring Brian Boyle as a guest speaker and we received this book as a gift (and lunch, too!)

The author was kind enough to sign our books following his talk. While I'm not much of an autograph hound, it was an honor to meet with him and chat for a short minute. His wife and parents also attended the event and it was truly amazing to hear from them in person and get their perspective on his story.

Brian's life took a sharp turn only a month after graduating from hig
Jan 03, 2012 Joel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brian Boyle wasn't supposed to live long enough to tell his story. Instead, he details how he fought the wrath of a horrific traffic accident to defy any opinion that he might never walk again.

Boyle opens by explaining in vivid recall how he awoke in ICU after being in a medically induced coma for a number of weeks. He was alert, but the circumstances surrounding his condition were a mystery to him. He had questions about where he was, how he got there, and why there was a myriad of tubes and ca
Mar 21, 2016 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brian Boyle is truly an inspiration. First of all, he survived a horrific car crash that damaged all vital organs and moved his heart across his chest! He was in intensive care for two months and had numerous surgeries. After his year or so of recovering, he wanted to return to how he looked before: muscular, athletic, and less sickly. Also, he was a record breaking competitive swimmer and track runner. So, he worked hard to regain his muscle and get back in the pool. He eventually topped his pr ...more
Sean Halpin
Oh the disappointment of the uninspiring and simplistic telling of what should have been a great story. Brian Boyle truly made a miraculous recovery from a nearly life ending car accident. Nevertheless, his telling of the story comes across as superficial and overly optimistic. Then again maybe this is what you should expect from a kid who nearly had his life cut short.

I had a particularly hard time reading through his cocky attempt at completing an Ironman with only weeks of training. His rushi
Crystal West

The reality of what happened to this guy is beyond incredible and inspiring. The story told here is missing the "iron heart" that it attempts to portray. There is little beyond the surface of day to day succession of events. The reasons I had for wanting to read this book remain unanswered because the story was told in such a matter-of-fact way. Was the ghost writer a robot? At the end of 250 pages I know more about Brian's detailed triathlon training program (down to how many push ups were
Aug 17, 2010 Allison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The fact that this story is true is its saving grace. That a human could go from being a coma patient to finishing an Ironman competition is incredible. As an athlete, I see Boyle's story as nothing short of miraculous inspiration. However, as a book, Iron Heart stinks. Boyle is clearly not a writer, and while I respect the fact that he did not employ someone else to write his story for him, he must have at least had some sort of ghost writer helping him along--which doesn't speak well for that ...more
This book was phenomenal! I found it to be extremely motivating, touching, inspirational, and awe-inspiring. This book is the first hand account of Brian Boyle, an 18 year old critically injured in a horrific automobile accident. He was not expected to live through the first hour after the accident because of all the internal damage his body received--every rib was broken, his heart shifted to the other side of his chest, his pelvis was smashed, and he had other extensive injuries. However, thro ...more
Kellie Wagner
Sep 24, 2011 Kellie Wagner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit-2011-2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley Annarelli
Ms. Emmett
Academic English 10
5 April, 2013

With the looks of the car, it is a miracle he is alive today. Eighteen year old, Brian Boyle was driving home from swim practice when his life took a turn for the worse as a dump truck crashed into the driver’s side of his Camaro. Brian was quickly airlifted to intensive care at a shock-trauma hospital. Sixty percent of his blood- gone, his organs and pelvis were crushed, his heart moved across his chest, and lost 100 pounds. After two m
Oct 25, 2012 Laurendancer1221 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody who likes a sad story
"Iron Heart" is memoir about Brian Boyle who had just graduated high school, and was about to go to college at Maine State University with a scholarship in swimming. Approximately 2 weeks before Brian goes to college he gets in a devastating car accident. Brian loses 60% of his blood and remains in the critical conditions room for 2 to 4 months, 1/12 of the time he is in the critical conditions room he is in a coma. Doctors find many internal organs in different places than they should be in fo ...more
Rita Ciresi
Feb 04, 2016 Rita Ciresi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story about a horrible car accident and being "locked in" was very difficult and painful for me to read--evoking the same kind of panicky, claustrophobic feeling inside of me that I experienced reading Jean-Dominique Bauby's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. But it was well worth powering through the opening chapters in order to cheer on the narrator. This memoir forces you to think about important issues such as end-of-life decisions, parental love, and our will to live.
Elena Tawney
May 02, 2015 Elena Tawney rated it really liked it
This was an inspiring read. Brian never should have survived his accident. He never should have walked. Yet, he did survive and he didn't just relearn to walk, he became a triathlete and he became an Ironman. Not only does he have an ironheart, but he also has a ironmind and has persevered in the face of great adversity, suffering, and pain. His story is a great reminder that with hardwork and dogged determination one can meet his or her ultimate goal.
Aug 20, 2014 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was not something I would normally read. I'm not an athlete in any sense of the word. But it was a book club pick so I read it and I liked it. It was an easy read and very uplifting. A little too much brand name dropping for my taste, "And then this brand sponsored me, and that brand, and that brand too, blah, blah, blah..." But I looked past that and overall was amazed at Bryan's accomplishment.
Marc Baldwin
Jun 19, 2011 Marc Baldwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing story about the power of the human will. This kid should have been dead, but it was his will to live that kept him alive. Considering how close he was to death, it's a remarkable story of his amazing recovery, not just to healthy life, but to doing things way beyond what normal people can do (like the Ironman Triathlon).

It caused me to rethink the issue of "pulling the plug" when someone is on life support. It also made me reconsider how much of our ability to accomplish physical things
Shari Harrington
Really amazing story and quick read. Brian Boyle is absolutely inspirational and really came back from the dead to do what everyone else said was not possible. he never let anything get in his way or any of his dreams. 3 stars only because I felt like it was a tad repetitive at times and because I knew the book had a happy ending, the way the book ended was just ehh. I wish I had more closure at the end as opposed to the end saying 'I finish the race.'
Lisa Grover Cicero
awesome book

What an amazing young man! To your parents, you have done an excellent job bringing Brian up, I wish every kid had the type of parents Brian does! Brian, you my friend are a miracle man, it is people like you who do not give up no matter the odds, that reminds me there is a god.
Dec 13, 2014 Lauren rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible story so although the writing is uninspiring I debated giving it three stars. But in the end I couldn't get over it. I would love to see what someone like Jon Krakauer could do with this. It's a quick read though, so still worth zipping through just because his story is so compelling.
Barb Boardman-Pavao
I am struggling with how to rate this book. Brian's story is beyond amazing. I heard him speak at the library and he told most of his story. He is a soft spoken, gregarious, reflective, grateful, present, sincere, empathetic athlete & body builder. As a result of his accident, he has found his destiny in helping others in similar situations. He is becoming a spokesperson for the Red Cross. His appeal will help the Red Cross tremendously. With all of that said, the book is good. It is basical ...more
Aug 14, 2014 Hannah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story itself is incredible, seeing the pictures of the car just shows how lucky he was. However, I do agree with some of the other reviewers that this book was not that well written. To me it reads as poorly written happy ever after fiction rather than heart felt true story (which it undoubtedly is).
Nov 10, 2011 April rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
AMAZING BOOK!!! This is one of those books that I will always remember. I rented it from the library and I am very tempted to just go out and buy a copy so I can re-read it any time I need a reality check. There is so much I have learnt from this book. Our time can be up at any moment and it is so important to go after what you want and to defy the odds. Never take NO for an answer and just live every moment like it is your last because it may just be your last. I read reviews after I got the bo ...more
Iron Heart By Brian Boyle
This Book covers his recovery from a car accident it took 4-5 years.Two people that had a huge influence on Brian were his parents.I think he wrote this memoir because he survived something that others wouldn't have.First he was hit by a a dump truck then put in a coma for two months during these two months his heart stopped multiple times after all this he still ran a triathalon this book was some times boring there were some parts where nothing would happen and it wou
Mar 26, 2015 Paulcbry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing true story from an incredible young man who refused to give up. I highly recommend this inspirational book. The race does not go to the thrift but those who have a positive outlook.
Katelin Keochai
Dec 10, 2013 Katelin Keochai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brian Boyle is an amazing story of how a boy who was told he would never be able to walk, swim, or be the way he was before the accident proved to others that he could persevere and prove them wrong. Little by little he got better even with small things like blinking or saying hello he showed that he wasn't going to quit. This shows to prove that even in the most complicated situations like Brian was in you can still achieve your goals. In the beginning state of his physical therapy he was barel ...more
Nov 09, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely amazing. Brian takes the reader into his experience, sharing from the heart, while displaying an honorable character that any parent would be proud of. You will not regret reading this book.
Cheryl Noack
Apr 09, 2015 Cheryl Noack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story

Inspirational story. Amazing how he chose to never give up in the face of so much pain. His parents also are amazing.
The story of the miraculous recovery for this young man after a tragic accident is truly inspiring, however the writing style is a little hard to read.
Mikey Goodmark

Really inspiring and incredibly touching. I couldn't stop reading it. It's so hard for me to describe why this is a book worth reading but it really truly is.
Jul 25, 2013 Kristina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was phenomenal!!! It is a true, inspirational story of a boy who is in a near-fatal car accident (not expected to live) and fights his way out of a coma to end up competing in the Hawaii Ironman triathlon world competition!! This story is incredible and so worth the read!! My favorite quote from the book is “’A person hasn’t lived until he has almost died, and for those who have fought for life, the world has a flavor the protected will never know.’ Life is all about taking risks and a ...more
Jan 20, 2015 Ilene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of us wouldn't have made it out of that car alive. How many could have made it through all that Brian Boyle went through? Ironman - that's crazy!!

The story itself is beyond inspiring. The writing is as it should be...straight forward and not flowery.
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“The strong family warrior has turned into a shell-shocked returning vet—listless, moody, with an invisible injury draining him of vitality.” 0 likes
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