Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book 60- Irreplacable

This novel Irreplaceable was one I liked and hated all the way through. And now that I've finished the book, I'm still not sure if I liked it or not.

Archaeologist Alex and his scholarly researched wife Isabel have a young marriage and nice starting out life when tragedy strikes and Isabel is killed. She has signed her donor card and Alex grudgingly followed through, and donated her organs.

This novel then follows Alex in the year or so following Isabel's death; how he moved on, how he copes, his relationship with his mother-in-law, and more interestingly, the contact he starts receiving from Janet Corcoran, the woman who received Isabel's heart.

Janet wanted to thank her donor, wanted some contact and managed to do some research and found out who Alex was. She sent him letters and cards. She managed to connect with Isabel's mother and they emailed. Isabel's mother wanted the contact and valued it, while Alex was appalled and intrigued.

Also added to this interesting mix of people and storyline, is the man who was driving the car who killed Isabel. I felt the part of the story that involved him was sick, but, no pun intended, like a car wreck and as a reader you didn't dare skim or skip anything. It was mortifying and disturbing to read his interactions with these characters. I realize this was fiction, but I feel it was a strongly told story it was hard to remember these are fictional people and not voices of real humans. or many, the characters are so real, they could be anyone we know.

The story is also told, alternating chapters between the story of Alex, to the story of Janet and her family. It also oscillates between present day lives of Alex and Janet, to flashbacks the the days when Isabel was alive and before Janet received her heart and thought she was going to die.

I struggled with liking these people... well, characters. And maybe that's the problem. At some point in the story I was so wrapped up that I thought of these characters as people. And I didn't really like them very much. I think I liked Isabel the best and she was dead and only portrayed in flashback.

It doesn't become sappy. It's almost more the other direction, more harsh and maudlin. And maybe in that case, more real.