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Book Review: Before My Heart Stops
Paul Cardall
Cover image of the product Before My Heart Stops by Paul Cardall
Before My Heart Stops
Paul Cardall
2010 / Shadow Mountain
275 pages (290 including endnotes and index)
Review by Kathy Parsons
Before My Heart Stops is a compelling memoir of pianist/composer Paul Cardall’s journey to receiving a heart transplant. Cardall was born with a severe heart defect that essentially left him with half of a functioning heart. He had his first emergency surgery when he was less than a day old and was not expected to survive to see his first birthday. Six major surgeries later, at the age of 36, Cardall was informed that he would not live much longer without a heart transplant. He was also told that he might not survive the transplant procedure itself. He was on the list for a heart transplant for 384 days, with a fair amount of that time spent in the hospital as his condition worsened.

Cardall’s book is an inspiring combination of blog entries written during this time as well as narrative chapters that provide background information about Cardall’s life. Several of the blog entries were written by Lynnette Cardall, Paul’s wife, and one was written by one of his doctors. The blog/journal is so effective in conveying the emotions as well as the events over that period of time that you feel like you’re right there with Cardall. The strength of his religious faith (LDS) coupled with his deep love for his wife and daughter kept Cardall determined to beat the odds in order to continue to live for those he loves. Conversely, he was also prepared to accept God’s will, should he not survive the surgery. Cardall’s positive and optimistic nature and unwavering faith are nothing less than inspiring and life-affirming. I found myself very touched and moved by Cardall’s words and I’m sure his music will take on a new meaning for me now that I have an understanding of all he has been through.

Before My Heart Stops is an excellent book from so many perspectives and I strongly recommend it to readers of all ages. It is available from www.paulcardall.com and Amazon. Very highly recommended!
February 13, 2012