Dying to Give A Review



Dying to Give by Gary B. Shelly


As a parent, the first chapter brought me to tears. By the second chapter, I was sobbing, while simultaneously rooting for the characters and by the third chapter I wanted I was so involved in the story, I couldn’t put it down.

This debut novel by Gary B. Shelly is indeed a rare gift to readers. It is seldom that a new fiction author uses words so eloquently, profoundly, and emotionally.

The story opens on a snowy day, where an expectant mother is waiting at the drive for her daughter to return home from school. This daughter is a child of her heart, as much as a child of biology. They both love snow and everything the winter brings with it – cold, sledding, skiing; so their bond is extra special.

The school bus carrying the daughter suffers a catastrophic accident and lands in an icy creek. She learns the news just as her water breaks and her second child is about to enter the world. Forced to drive herself to the hospital, she gives birth in her wrecked vehicle, alone in a freezing storm.

Her daughter has been rescued, but the prognosis is not good. As the parents contend with a hopeless ending for their child, they are asked to donate her organs. Because of the of the accident and the extraordinary circumstances of the birth their newborn child, their grief is not only palpable, it is being played out on a media stage.

Police search for the person that caused the bus accident, Pro-life faces off against Pro-choice, lawyers and policy makers are trying to legislate the process, and one family’s child becomes the focal point for everyone who thinks they have a say. The family and their marriage are not only stressed, it’s fracturing.

From the most unlikely of places, a man at the end of his life who is a retired physician, they find a measure of solace and sanity that helps them come to terms with their decisions.

The book delves into the issue of organ donation. Looking at its various morals, dilemmas, and the laws that vary regarding it. Dying to Give focuses on the decisions one family must make, while deftly weaving in how very divisive an issue organ donation can be. Those that oppose it, those that are desperate, those who must legislate it, and the medical personnel who deal with it as part of their job.

While organ donation may be an easy decision to make for oneself, it is an entirely different thing to make it for someone you love, especially a child. Dying to Give is one of the most poignant, respectful and emotional books I’ve had the privilege to read on the subject.

A highly recommended read.