Iron Heart: The True Story of How I Came Back from the Dead by Brian Boyle
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The fact that this story is true is its saving grace. That a human could go from being a coma patient to finishing an Ironman competition is incredible. As an athlete, I see Boyle's story as nothing short of miraculous inspiration. However, as a book, Iron Heart stinks. Boyle is clearly not a writer, and while I respect the fact that he did not employ someone else to write his story for him, he must have at least had some sort of ghost writer helping him along--which doesn't speak well for that individual. The writing is simplistic, which in some cases could be effective; here, however, it makes the story sound flat. In spite of the horrific details Boyle presents about his condition and prognoses, the reader never feels a sense of horror or urgency at all, anywhere throughout the book.
Perhaps this is because of Boyle's incurably optimistic, sunny attitude. He portrays himself as a survivor (which he is!), but his tireless optimism shines through even his descriptions of the most (seemingly) hopeless events. Even when he tries to describe himself as feeling "down," those period only last a paragraph or too, and then he's back to blinking for the sake of his parents, or walking to prove the doubters wrong, or biking to keep his sponsors.
I don't discredit Boyle's experience or personal trials at all. However, I am disappointed by the presentation of what should be such a mind-blowing story. My mind was not blown. In fact, if I were not interested in eventually competing in triathlons myself, I probably would have been so un-enthralled with this book as to have returned it to the library half-read.
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