Book Review: A Matter of Heart by Amy Fellner Dominy

“Am I shattered like that broken glass? A beautiful mess? A waste? Am I just another sad story like my dad? Am I going to live in the past with a stupid shelf as an empty reminder of my life? Because without my swimming, without my dreams, life will be empty.”


What would you do if your life was turned upside down by one word, “forever”?  Abby is the star swimmer on her high school team, tenths of seconds away from an Olympic Trials cut and her dream to make the Olympics, when her life comes crashing down on her.  


In order to treat this, she must take medicine that will slow down her heart.  Slowing it down means no more fast races “forever.” For Abby this is a death sentence in itself.  Her whole life revolves around swimming and swimming fast.  Her friends are all swimmers, her boyfriend is a swimmer, and her dad has been living out his own athletic disappointments through her as well.  

Does she listen to her cardiologist who recommends she give up competitive swimming forever?  Does she listen to her former coach who knows nothing of her diagnosis and tries to convince her to keep swimming because doctors misdiagnosis athletes “all the time?” Does she listen to her dad who doesn’t want to let go of her dreams even though Abby may die?  Or does she listen to her heart?

My Thoughts:

I will always hold a special place in my heart for books that are about swimmers.  My husband coaches swimming and both of my boys swim as well.  Knowing how hard my family works in the sport, made this book easy to relate to and one that I will share with those close to me.  As a mom, I think I would be heartbroken for my child if he were to hear the devestating news that Abby did. How would I help my child see that his life is far more important than any sport that he is involved in? Yet, I know that for many, sports become their identity and would be difficult to give up.  Abby struggled throughout the story with this because she was getting so many mixed messages from others who only cared about her as an athlete but not her as a human being.


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