CHANGE OF HEART by Sally Mandel


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The latest blubber-ama for those still hankering for another Love Story--though the medical details here do cast a certain corrective chill on the oleogenous romance. Sharlie Converse, 26-year-old victim of valvular heart disease, first meets handsome lawyer Brian Morgan when she blacks out on a Manhattan bus. Romance flourishes in hospital visits even though Brian meets Sharlie's parents--bullying, bigoted Walter and defensive, frigid Margaret; and the Sharlie/Brian friendship progresses to love and sex. But because of the ongoing and spreading damage to Sharlie's heart, a terrifying decision is made--to proceed with a heart transplant in a California hospital. And the operation is initially a success--despite Sharlie's frightening psychical reaction when she learns the criminal identity of the heart donor. So Brian and Sharlie marry, hoping for normalcy and true happiness. Alas. . . Sharlie's body then begins to reject the alien heart; and Sharlie, knowing she is dying, sets her house in order. Her parents, brought closer by the ordeal, reach a new intimacy; Brian and his father, long out of touch, are reunited for keeps; Sharlie outlines plans (to a sympathetic, devoted nurse friend) for donating her body to science. And there's even that final trip to view the ocean before the end. (Sharlie wakes Brian one last time to say goodbye.) Not quite as soggy as Love Story--and Mandel gives some conscientious attention to the sensations of victims of heart disease; but ultimately those cardboard characters with in the damp.

Pub Date: June 27th, 1980
Publisher: Delacorte