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A Change of Heart: A Memoir
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A Change of Heart: A Memoir

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  121 ratings  ·  32 reviews
After a heart and lung transplant operation, dancer Claire Sylvia discovered that new organs were not the only thing she inherited. Never having liked such foods as beer and chicken nuggets, she suddenly started craving them. After an extraordinary dream, she seeks out the family of her donor -- a teenaged boy who died in a motorcycle accident -- and learns that it is inde ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 1st 1997 by Little, Brown and Company
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A Change of Heart is the story of Claire Sylvia who received a heart-lung transplant. She talks about her experiences leading up to the transplant and after the transplant. The most interesting concept which she discusses is that of cellular memory. This is memory transferred by organs to the recipients in organ transplants and certainly seemed to be the case in Claire's transplant. When she met her donor's family she was amazed to learn that he loved green peppers which she had developed a new ...more
Cassandra Javier
Something I read more than a decade ago, back when I was 11? :)
It's a memoir about Claire Sylvia's heart transplant--how it affected and changed her life, and how it changed the lives of people around her. Having been transplanted a heart of a man, and being a woman herself, how do you think it went?

It's an emotional, gripping account of a reality that many of us know nothing about. Beautiful book, great read.
About a lady who gets a heart and lung transplant and starts to like some of things her donar likes that she can't explain. It makes you think about whether or not this kind of thing could really happen. And, the importance of donating your organs for others who may need them.
What an amazing book! An incredible story of a woman who has a heart/lung transplant and the shifts that happen to her mind, body and soul. It's so interesting the psychological aspect of living with someone else's organs in your body when you were dying.

What do those new organs do to a person? How do they effect you and show up in your life? Is your life really your own anymore? The questions have been asked and of course science doesn't have the answers to these questions because science can'
Donna LaValley
I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading this book because I gave it only 3 stars. The story about the changes Claire Silvia noticed after her heart-lung transplant interested me immediately after reading the story in magazines years ago. Since then I’d looked forward to reading the book. However, the writing style disappointed me. You know that style where the last half of the paragraph is a series of questions? And those questions have been asked before? Maybe the words will be slightly ...more
The first part of the book - the author's life prior to surgery - didn't make for particularly compelling reading, but she's an interesting enough person in her own right that it was readable. The cellular memory aspects are worth waiting for - several recipients' stories of taking on attributes of the donor were impossible for me to discount, although I place more of a scientific emphasis on that myself, than the donor's spirit staying behind. Claire's dreams feature in the story, a new agey an ...more
Claire Sylvia provides a vivid personal account of what she experienced as a heart-lung transplant recipient. Many of her experiences are common among heart transplant recipients but what sets Sylvia apart is her belief that the spirit and personality of her donor somehow resides within her body after transplantation and is responsible for changes within her own psyche and personal tastes.Frankly,I don't buy it. Although I have heard other heart transplant patients make similiar claims,it just d ...more
This is the memoir of a woman who received a heart-lung transplant. It relates changes that occurred in her that she believed to be attributes of the person whose organs she received. She later met the donor's family and found many of her impressions of the donor to be true. Also includes anecdotes relating to other transplant recipients that are of a similar vein.

There is a lot New Agey-ness to the author and her book. I am interested in learning more about the effect of transplants on the whol
Elizabeth Larson
Loved the book so much over 20 years ago, decided to read it so much more out of it. Most important message is to be an organ donor!
I read this book after my 1995 kidney transplant. I was very skeptical about the "cellular memory" in organ transplantation. The author did make a good case and by the end of the book I was actually following along with the concept. You have to remember that after any kind of transplant you are on several types of medication, including steroids, which will change your taste buds and emotions. I think we still have a lot to learn, but I am not fully convinced that cellular memory exists. This is ...more
This was an interesting book portraying the psychological, emotional, and physical difficulties and changes that author, Clair Sylvia, lived through after going through a heart and lung transplant. I found her story to be compelling and interesting. I like how she addresses multiple possible explanations for what happened to her and how she reaches out to others who have gone through similar experiences, giving them comfort and support in letting them know that they are not alone. I highly recom ...more
Diana Sandberg
Really interesting, and well-written; a page-turner. Sylvia had a heart-lung transplant in 1988, wrote this book about 10 years later. The story of her life and illness up to the transplant was quite interesting and worth reading, the story of the transplant itself very absorbing; the story of afterwards even more so. She had strange changes to her tastes and personality, as well as dream experiences, that are most intriguing and difficult to explain, and, it turns out, she’s not the only one. S ...more
Cindy Thistle
Loved it!
Important work, if only to document the the holographic relationship between our spirit/soul/consciousness and this most important of organs, the heart. How Claire experienced this through the transplant of a young mans heart, replacing her. Recent advances in this subject validates her personal experience.
My brother, Jon Snelgrove, had a liver transplant on March 15, 1990 so this book was very meaningful to me. Sharing body parts and connecting souls seems like a truly charitable thing to do. Jon had no personality connection with his young donor just great gratitude for an extension of his life.

Thanks to Janet and Don Blackwelder for giving me this book as a gift.
I really like a good biography and this was a very unique story of someone who had a heart transplant and how she changed afterward. She actually took on some of the characteristics of her donor and then went on a journey to find the family. It had a new agey feel which I didn't always like, but I enjoyed the freshness of the topic. A little academic at the end.
Nov 04, 2008 Tracie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tracie by: Massage Therapist
This book was an interesting look at organ donation. The story centers around a woman who gets a heart transplant. Soon after the surgery she finds herself a slightly different person. This book looks at a concept that I learned in massage school called tissue memory -- the thought that our dna may store previous memories.
My first venture into quantum physics. The real life story of a heart-transplant recipient and how her tastes for things changed post surgery. She miraculously met the family of her heart-donor and realized that the things that have changed are related directly to his likes/preferences, etc. A quick and easy read.
Melissa Lee-tammeus
A fascinating story of what happens to a heart transplant patient. Sylvia claims her tastes, her thoughts and many other things changed and they were from the heart of the man who gave his life for her. Definitely is an interesting thought, to say the least.
Fascinating first-hand account of the unexpected psychological effects that organ transplant can have on some recipients; implies that memory and personality doesn't inhere just in the brain, but in all the organs of the body in various degrees.
Rebecca margoles
Wow, if you can get an organ and traits hitchhike along, how would that change the world's view of EVERYTHING? I want to read more on the science of it.
Woman with a heart-lung transplant takes on a few of the donor's characteristics. Real cool. Godd for people who don't usually read non fiction.
Barbara Hanley
Reading her story was amazing. I have been fascinated by these stories for many years. Touching and I love how it wasn't sugar coated.
A very interesting read! It's written in an easy sale that helps the book/true story to flow seamlessly.
Brianne Palmer
Dec 26, 2007 Brianne Palmer rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
I really liked this book. It wqas interesting to see how her life changed after her transplant.
Interesting book about a woman, her hearts, and her connection to her heart/lung donor.
This is a wonderful heartwarming story and great book. Thanks Cari for Recommendation.
A fascinating memoir by a heart transplant receipient.
Loved this...very interesting!
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