Memoirs of a survivor who wasn’t about to let a little thing like a heart transplant slow her down.
Perkins is a self-described “mountain girl” who loves physical activity, especially hiking and camping. From the day they met, she and husband Craig spent all their spare time and money pursuing adventures in the great outdoors. Then, she began to experience troubling symptoms like heart palpitations and shortness of breath. Cardiologists eventually determined that Perkins had picked up a virus that left her with an enlarged, scarred left ventricle and potentially fatal arrhythmia. These problems landed her in the hospital for weeks on end and eventually necessitated a transplant. Committed to staying fit and active, Perkins and her husband have in recent years scaled some of the world’s most awesome mountains, including Mt. Kilimanjaro. <\b>Though it makes a welcome contrast with fellow transplant survivor Amy Silverstein’s much more downbeat Sick Girl (2007), Perkins’s memoir does not merely chronicle a predictable triumph over the odds. Exciting mountaineering stories that will appeal to fans of Jon Krakauer share space with tender emotional passages. From her description of meeting Craig in college through her grateful account of the unstinting care he provided during her darkest days in the hospital, this is also the portrait of a marriage. The prose is variable. Sometimes Perkins grabs a cliché, and stale sentences like, “It was July 1992, my last days of innocence,” are all the more frustrating because many other passages are so vivid, bursting with fresh metaphors and images: “Our initial courtship was like cramming for a final exam.” Perkins emerges as a likable narrator, human and sympathetic with nary a touch of Pollyanna.
Will inspire readers to live life to the fullest—and to sign an organ-donor card.