George Bailey has been given a second chance. After suffering a heart attack, he is given the heart of a 19-year-old donor who's family wishes to remain anonymous. George leaves the hospital, ready to carry on with his life, but quickly realizes that things are not the same. Suddenly he is able to make love to his wife like he's 19. He relates better to his daughter with her ambitions to save the planet, and he is becoming more like a friend than a father to his son. George can't imagine this being a bad thing, but suddenly his life begins to fall apart.
George's wife, Lara, suddenly finds that living with her husband is more like living with a teenager. Frustrated with being the only parent with any sense, Lara suggests spending some time apart. George moves back in with his own parents, and deja vu settles in. He's living under his parents roof, he's drinking like it's the old days, and he has absolutely no idea who he really is.
George sets out to find the family of his anonymous donor in the hopes that he will be able to come to terms with his new life and hopefully be able to return to his old one. In the process George learns to be grateful for the gift that he's been given, and he begins to appreciate how satisfying adulthood can be.
This was a wonderful book, based on the theory of cellular memory, that organs retain some of the memories of their "original owners", even when transplanted. It went beyond that, though, and it also touched on the beauty of the gift of life, as well as appreciation for all of the things that make us adults. I thoroughly enjoyed Starting Over, and since Tony Parsons is a new-to-me author, I'll be checking out some of his previous works. Parsons creates characters that are easy to relate to, and who you'll be rooting for the whole way through.