Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Change of Heart: A Memoir” as Want to Read:
A Change of Heart: A Memoir
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Change of Heart: A Memoir

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  144 Ratings  ·  37 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
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Change of Heart, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Change of Heart

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 351)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 22, 2012 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 20, 2016 Karyl rated it really liked it
Claire Sylvia is a woman who's always had to be careful with her health, having had a heart murmur for much of her life. When she is finally diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension, she realizes that eventually the only way to stay alive will be to receive a heart and lung transplant. Finally she receives the new organs, but now she's craving beer and chicken nuggets, foods she had never really enjoyed before, and she feels some changes in her personality. It's also wonderful to see how st ...more
Cassandra Javier
Jan 01, 2013 Cassandra Javier rated it liked it
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.
Sep 15, 2012 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 01, 2011 Donna LaValley rated it liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
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
Dec 09, 2010 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-and-memoir
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
Apr 30, 2008 peg rated it liked it
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
Nov 15, 2015 Abby rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 29, 2008 Kelly rated it it was ok
Shelves: life-stories
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
Corgi Mom
Mar 06, 2016 Corgi Mom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting true account of a woman who got a heart, lung transplant and how it affected her, and not just from a physical standpoint. I highly recommend this book.
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!
May 07, 2009 Shelly rated it really liked it
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
Jul 25, 2016 Nic rated it liked it
Easy, interesting read. Emphasizes the importance and need for organ donation while exploring the phenomenon of one of the side effects. Can be a little corny at times.
Apr 22, 2012 Deborah rated it liked it
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
Jun 21, 2009 Diana Sandberg rated it really liked it
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
Caitlyn McQuaid
Jul 28, 2015 Caitlyn McQuaid rated it really liked it
Very spiritual!!
Cindy Thistle
Loved it!
Sep 19, 2013 Vanessa rated it liked 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.
Sep 11, 2013 Leslie rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 15, 2009 Melanie rated it really liked it
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 really liked it
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.
Feb 26, 2008 Carolyn rated it really liked it
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
Nov 25, 2011 Melissa Lee-Tammeus rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 17, 2008 Sally rated it really liked it
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
Jan 05, 2009 Rebecca margoles rated it liked it
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.
Mar 17, 2011 Cindy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: medical, biography
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.
Feb 26, 2012 Miz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Barbara Hanley
Jul 03, 2012 Barbara Hanley rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 01, 2014 Tracey rated it really liked it
A very interesting read! It's written in an easy sale that helps the book/true story to flow seamlessly.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Of Spirits and Madness: An American Psychiatrist in Africa
  • King of Hearts: The True Story of the Maverick Who Pioneered Open Heart Surgery
  • Jan's Story: Love Lost to the Long Goodbye of Alzheimer's
  • Delivering Doctor Amelia: The Story of a Gifted Young Obstetrician's Error and the Psychologist Who Helped Her
  • Trouble In Mind: Stories From A Neuropsychologist's Casebook
  • Rewind Replay Repeat: A Memoir of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Holding Silvan: A Brief Life
  • Hope in a Ballet Shoe: Orphaned by war, saved by ballet: an extraordinary true story
  • Reaching for Glory: Lyndon Johnson's Secret White House Tapes 1964-65
  • Supreme Injustice
  • Dead Center: Behind the Scenes at the World's Largest Medical Examiner's Office
  • The Dominion of War: Empire and Liberty in North America, 1500-2000
  • The Future of the Brain: The Promise & Perils of Tomorrow's Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders
  • Life After Loss: A Practical Guide To Renewing Your Life After Experiencing Major Loss
  • Adversity Quotient: Turning Obstacles Into Opportunities
  • The Divine Right of Capital: Dethroning the Corporate Aristocracy
  • The Man with the Beautiful Voice: And More Stories from the Other Side of the Couch

Share This Book