Summer of the Heart: Saving Alexandre


192 pages
ISBN 1-55199-093-8
DDC 618.92'12





Reviewed by Marcy McKay

Marcy McKay, a registered nurse, is president of the B.C. Operating Room
Nurses group.


Summer of the Heart is an engrossing story of a family’s determined
efforts to save the life of their baby son. Globe and Mail Middle East
correspondent Paul Adams begins his story by sharing his first glimpses
of Suzanne, the woman he would one day marry. He then shares the joy of
being a young husband and the excitement surrounding the birth of his
child, Alexandre. At first, Alexandre seems to be a healthy baby, but
soon he has trouble breastfeeding, then becomes dehydrated and listless.
After medical tests are completed, he is diagnosed with a congenital
heart defect. The Adamses’ lives are turned upside down.

As Adams continues his stirring account, he draws readers into the
world of the operating room, deftly explaining pediatric cardiology and
acknowledging the skills of the doctors and nurses who do their best to
save everyone in their care. He also draws readers into the emotional
roller coaster of his and Suzanne’s lives, and a marriage that is
tested and strained as their son fights to survive. (Paul retreats into
alcohol abuse; unfortunately, we are not told whether he is still
fighting this demon.) Alexandre’s strength and extraordinary will to
live shine through.

At one point, Adams learns that had his son been born a few years
earlier, the technology needed to save him would not have existed; if
he’d been born a few years later, the same technology would not have
been available due to fiscal restraints.

Summer of the Heart is a good read and a testimony to the old adage
“Timing is everything.”


Adams, Paul., “Summer of the Heart: Saving Alexandre,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 19, 2024,