Open Heart by Elie Wiesel

The first half of Open Heart gives a shockingly honest look into the regrets and joys of Wiesel’s life. His autobiographical take upon the events that lead him to this point in his life provides a clear look into his every emotion and thought. Using the event of his open heart surgery, Elie recalls during each chapter a different “love” of his life. Each love following under the metaphor open heart surgery plays.

The message conveyed, about love, love lost, and appreciating love could not be as powerfully conveyed without the setting of a hospital. A setting many Americans know a little too well. The fear felt before a loved one goes in for surgery, the worry during the operation. Questions asked: Will this be last time we talked? Will my loved one survive? Will everything go smoothly, without complications? For the patient: Will I ever get to see my family again? Did I tell them how important they were to me enough times? Will I ever wake up? The familiarity of this situation draws a connection to the reader, the book not only becomes Wiesel’s story, but the reader’s story too.

The stories of Wiesel’s past provide numerous snippets of love. His son, the day he was born, his first 11-year-old crush on a nurse that cared for him, his father, lost to concentration camps during the holocaust, his wife, a rock and inspiration in his life. Each story, a deeper nugget of love.

The first half of Wiesel’s novel “Open Heart” has provided an inspiring and realteable take on memories of loved ones, despite painful stories that went along with some of them.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Open Heart by Elie Wiesel

  1. lenawehn3

    Response 2:
    The second half of “Open Heart” strays away from the obvious love and past loves of Wiesel’s life, and looks more into the head. It is almost as if Wiesel is comparing the mind and the heart.

    His response to the world after his surgery is less about being thankful for the people in his life, but more about realizing that is important to HAVE that thanks at all. That life is fleeting, and easily taken away.

    The opposing perspectives in each half of the book provide a clear differentiation between before and after Wiesel’s surgery. His work view shifts, as well as the scene of thoughts he sets up for his reader. These differences contribute to the tone of the novel greatly, from love and passion in his words, to more matter-of-fact phrases and ideas. It sets up a clear switch in perspective that is easy to follow as the reader, and made progressively more present as the book comes to a close.

    Open Heart is lovely read on the love and important of love in life, through the extended metaphor (and true story) of Elie Wiesel’s heart surgery. I give it a solid 8.5/10 (I’m a hard book grader) because the novel was extremely well written, ideas were clear, and it’s a very short read that holds a lot of impact. Imagine a tiny little man who punches like a bull. It reminds me of that. I highly suggest it.

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