Sunday, December 28, 2014

Review of "Iron Heart"

Even though some of the holidays have passed, we are still in the holiday season, so let me take this time to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.   

I listened to this book on a long drive recently and finished up during an evening commute and was inspired by this story of a young man who not only survived a horrific car accident, he went on to become an even better athlete than he was before the wreck.  Here is my review of "Iron Heart." 

“Iron Heart: The True Story of How I Came Back from the Dead” by Brian Boyle, narrated by Robin Bloodworth

Memoir, Triathlon, swimming, inspiration

Publish date:
October 1, 2009

256 pages

4 of 5 stars (very good)

Brian Boyle was a high school athlete who competed on the school swimming and track teams.  He was an accomplished swimmer – accomplished enough to earn a scholarship to a local college.  He also dreamed of one day competing in a triathlon.

Those dreams seemed to have died off on July 6, 2007 when he was severely injured in an automobile accident. There is no need to list all of the injuries suffered here, as Brian does that during this account of his story.  He tells of those believing he has no chance for survival, but through his will to live, unlimited parental support and the care and guidance of many medical professionals, he will not only survive, but be able to walk again and carry out daily functions.

The story of his recovery took a larger portion of the book than I had anticipated, as the title might suggest.  The synopsis talks about his determination to compete in a triathlon – and not just any triathlon – it is the Kona Ironman triathlon, one of the toughest courses.   After Brian has regained enough strength to do some jogging and gets back in the pool, he decides to train for this.  A production crew from NBC follows him and his training for first a half-triathlon in Michigan before the Kona Ironman.  The short amount of time he had for this seems incredible, but being able to finish these races is a testament to his determination and is an inspiring story for all of us.

What I liked best about the book is that it takes the reader into the mind of an athlete. This is evident even while Brian is in the hospital, as he talks at times about his scholastic swimming and field events like the discus and shot put. Then, during not only his training for the triathlon, but also during his recovery, physical therapy and even bodybuilding (he did that before training for the triathlon), Brian talks about what he is thinking while in this phase. He has his doubts, his highs and lows, and many adventures along the way.  These are interspersed throughout the passages, making the reader keenly aware of what he is thinking about as well as what he is physically doing in order to make this dream a reality.

This book was a good choice to listen to as well as the narrator did a very good job of reflecting the feelings behind Brian’s thoughts as well.  I felt these came out better on audio than they would have if I read the printed version.  It is a well-written memoir that people will enjoy if they like inspirational stories.

Pace of the book: 
For the most part, Brian’s story moved along at a good pace.  Not being a triathlete, the sections when he listed what exercises were in his daily training regiment, I admit to skimming over these by fast forwarding to the next section.   

Do I recommend? 
For an inspirational story or for a story where a seemingly impossible goal can be achieved, this book delivers on both of those accounts. However, if the reader wants to learn what goes on in the mind of an athlete, this book does well for that as well.

Book Format Read:
Audio book

Buying links:


  1. this is somewhere on my Mt TBR...

    1. Even though it's not a romance, move it to the top of the TBR pile - or at least close to the top. I recommend the audio version. I got it through Kindle Unlimited