This started out, to me, as a storyline not often told with an interesting twist to a man becoming a superhero. Yet it quickly morphed into a very dour, and at times excessively violent, story. Dale Simpson really isn't much of anything in life, nor is his best friend. They go after women who are perhaps not the brightest stars in the sky. Women who apparently go after violent men. Their lives start at middle ground and go down from there.
The superhero aspect of the story is an odd one. Dale might act like he's trying to help people, but really he's just taking a very odd circumstance and using it to make money to support himself. A job seems easier to me. Not a happy book. Not a book where you root for the characters.
BUT... it is a very different type of novel than mainstream that contains well written passages and a story line that does not bore.
EVERY SUPERHERO NEEDS TO START SOMEWHERE...
Dale Sampson is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.
When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise? The Heart Does Not Grow Back is a darkly comic, starkly original take on the superhero tale, introducing an exceptional new literary voice in Fred Venturini.