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Description - Tiny Pieces of Us by Nicky Pellegrino

There are many pleasures to be found in this absorbing, moving book - count me as a fan. - NZ Listener

New readers will fall in love with Pellegrino's writing style, while long-time fans will delight when the story shifts gear and travels to Italy - and to deliciously familiar territory. - Australian Women's Weekly (NZ Edition)

My heart is less than one per cent of my body, it weighs hardly anything; it's only a tiny piece of me, yet it's the part everyone finds most interesting. . .

Vivi Palmer knows what it's like to live life carefully. Born with a heart defect, she was given a second chance after a transplant, but has never quite dared to make the most of it. Until she comes face-to-face with her donor's mother, Grace, who wants something in return for Vivi's new heart: her help to find all the other people who have tiny pieces of her son.

Reluctantly drawn into Grace's mission, Vivi's journalist training takes over as one by one she tracks down a small group of strangers. As their lives intertwine Vivi finds herself with a new kind of family, and by finding out more about all the pieces that make up the many parts of her, Vivi might just discover a whole new world waiting for her...

'Pellegrino has a great flair for storytelling' - NZ Listener


'Venice comes alive...warm, engaging and truly delicious' ROSANNA LEY

'A novel about how easy it is to become an observer in your own life, and the joy of learning to live again.' JOJO MOYES

'Written with intelligence, insight and warmth. Highly recommended' CATHERINE ROBERTSON, NZ Listener

Buy Tiny Pieces of Us by Nicky Pellegrino from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.

Book Details

ISBN: 9781869713850
Format: Paperback / softback
(153mm x 234mm x 28mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand
Publisher: Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand
Publish Date: 30-Jun-2020
Country of Publication: New Zealand

Book Reviews - Tiny Pieces of Us by Nicky Pellegrino

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Book Review: Tiny Pieces of Us by Nicky Pellegrino - Reviewed by (22 Oct 2020)

4 stars

Tiny Pieces of Us is the twelfth novel by New Zealand author, Nicky Pellegrino. Seven years earlier, when Vivi Palmer was nineteen, a heart transplant saved her life. Now, she’s a journalist at a tabloid paper, the Daily Post and, when her editor, Dan discovers she is a transplant recipient, he immediately wants to use her very personal experience to front a campaign to change the law to opt-out organ donation. Vivi writes her article.

But Dan Parker, who “reckoned it was acceptable to break rules as long as it led to an exclusive and you didn’t get caught”, then takes it further: his research uncovers the name and a photograph of the donor, a sixteen-year-old boy who died tragically in a road accident. Jamie McGrath’s mother, Grace is shocked at the flagrant disregard of privacy, but when she speaks to Vivi, her most fervent wish is to know who received those little pieces of her son, to know they are fulfilling the promising life denied him.

When Vivi meets her, she wants to be a buffer against Grace’s despair, and she promises to do what she can to track down the other five recipients, those lucky people whose lives, or sight, were saved by Grace’s consent to donate. But that proves more challenging than Vivi anticipated.

The obligatory anonymity that is characteristic of organ donation means that no details are forthcoming via official channels, but internet searches and social media produce surprising results. Online recipient forums are common. Her initial efforts find Tommy, who has one of Jamie’s kidneys, and is eager to meet Grace and to help track down other “transplant twins”. But will other recipients feel that way?

Clearly Pellegrino has done a great deal of research into her subject so that, as well as the expected feelings of gratitude and the sense of obligation to make the best of the life extension the transplant has given, she illustrates, for example, the eternal sense of good health/good life guilt that siblings of disease sufferers might feel, and the guilt those disease sufferers feel at always being the centre of the attention of parents.

But her protagonist, Vivi, who carries the bulk of the narrative, is likely to frustrate readers with her “undeserving” attitude and submission to poor treatment. While it begins with a real emotional punch, enough to bring a lump to the throat or tear to the eye, this is noticeably absent for the rest of the story, and it tends to drag a little. A moving and thought-provoking read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Hachette Australia.

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