34th out of 48 books — 27 voters
The match : complete strangers, a miracle face transplant, two lives transformed
Joseph Helfgot, the son of Holocaust survivors, worked his way from a Lower East Side tenement to create a successful Hollywood research company. But his heart was failing. After months of waiting for a heart transplant, he died during the operation. Hours after his death, his wife Susan was asked a shocking question: would she donate her husband’s face to a total stranger...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Simon & Schuster
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Jan 27, 2011 Carol rated it 5 of 5 stars · review of another edition
I've been an organ donor as long as I can remember. In my teens I needed my parent's signature in order to donate my corneas if I should expire. As I got older and medical science progressed I thought it was wonderful that if something should happen to me, my kidneys, pancreas, what have you might be able to give new life to someone waiting for an organ. I have three friends on the wait list at this moment. As much as I believed in organ donation, when heart transplants became a reality, I was a...more
I may be biased on this book, since this subject is of great interest to me right now, but this is a well-done narrative of the nation's second face transplant, which mixes in vivid descriptions of the upbringing and present day lives of both the donor, Joseph Helfgot, and the recipient, Vietnam Vet Jim Maki.
Maki fell onto the electrifed third rail of train tracks near Boston, burning off most of the middle of his face. I've seen photographs of what he looked like before the surgery, and it's no...more
I really loved this book...I wish I could it 4 1/2 stars. The only thing I had a hard time with is the writing style at points. The author switches from present test to past tense frequently and it was hard to keep up with at times- to me she would have been better off just using past tense the whole time. Anyway-the other thing that bothered me is I feel she did not tie up some of the loose ends of the historical accounts of both men's lives- for example: How did Joseph's mother end up leaving...more
I became interested in this story after seeing it on an episode of 'Boston Med'. I thought the book would provide a little more background on the donor, the recipient, and the complicated process of a face transplant, and it did accomplish that. It's certainly an interesting story, but I feel like the writing was a little disorganized. The story jumps around a lot, and I sometimes had trouble keeping up. This didn't necessarily detract from the story, as it's not really important to know the exa...more
A well-crafted, heartwarming, and true story of how courage and generosity can bring meaning and purpose to a devastating loss. I was not surprised that it made me cry, but did not expect to laugh -- and I did! The author did a msterful job of weaving together stories that made each player in the drama come to life -- not as perfect superheros, but as flesh and blood people who struggled as we all do.
Jan 16, 2011 Celeste rated it 1 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Wasn't able to finish it. I love the story (saw it featured on the finale of Boston Med), but the switching back and forth between characters/time periods is so jolting I couldn't enjoy what what would have been a riveting story of 2 families and the hospital that brought them together.
When I picked this up I mistakenly thought it was a novel. I was surprised to find that this was a true story. I had not even realized that such miracles as face transplants were possible. An interesting read about a subject I might have missed learning about.