The Heart Does Not Grow Back | Fred Venturini | Picador – Macmillan | Stand Alone | Source: Review (Netgalley) | 320 pages | Adult | Sci-Fi
Release Date: November 4th, 2014
“EVERY SUPERHERO NEEDS TO START SOMEWHERE…
Dale Sampson is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.
When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise?The Heart Does Not Grow Back is a darkly comic, starkly original take on the superhero tale, introducing an exceptional new literary voice in Fred Venturini.”
To say I have been eagerly anticipating this books would be an understatement. As soon as I heard the title and the synopsis, I knew I wanted this book. I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of an E-ARC on Netgalley! I happy to report that even of hyping this up for so long, it definitely lived up to my expectations.
The Heart Does Not Grow Back follows the story of Dale Sampson, a young introvert who is trying to navigate the minefield of high school and life. One day a tragedy occurs and it becomes apparent that he has the ability regenerate limbs and organs.
I loved this novel from start to finish. It was a combination of all things from character development to the actual logistics behind Dale’s condition. The book is essentially asking what you would do. It is so interesting to see everyone’s reactions and moral compasses on the go. You definitely have a chance to see the darker side of human nature in this one, people’s justification for what their actions. You have a sudden realization that not everyone is as kind hearted as you think.
A small commentary on characters. Apart from Doc, I didn’t get along with any of them Doc is someone that you always feel for. He has a persistent need to seek redemption and sees Dale as his only chance. We have all had a friend like Mack. I personally thought he was a leech. I hated every other ounce of him. He is one of those friends that everyone has and no one will get rid of. At times he really was a good friend but at other times he truly was the worst thing for Dale.
Dale as a main character was quite complex. He did have a need to help people and even wanted to. His motivations were distorted and his chronic need for someone and crippling loneliness made his decisions for him. He is also turns out to be selfless when it comes down to it. All this added up to an amazing character to follow!
The ending to The Heart Does Not Grow Back is nothing I could have called and absolutely brilliant. What occurred was a true act of defiance and selflessness and I loved it.
Probably one of the vaguest reviews I have ever done but I would hate to spoil this for you. If you want a superhero novel with a difference, an intriguing set of characters and to questionable modern day motivation, this is the one for you!
Goodreads Average: 4.09/5 (out of 116 ratings)
There are so beautiful quotes in this one! Here are some I Instagrammed: