Strangely, what first attracted me to The Nicholas Effect was the simple fact that it was predominantly set in Italy, rather than its actual subject matter. However, I have always had an interest in organ donation and regularly give blood when my shifts allow, so this added to my curiosity about the book.
Reg Green, journalist and father of Nicholas, describes the sequence of events that begin with a tragedy during a family holiday to the south of Italy in bitter sweet detail. He describes Nicholas in such graphic and endearing terms that I was actually left with the feeling that I had may have met him somewhere in my distant past. While Nicholas’ death is described early on in the book, his presence continues to be felt as the pages are turned. The huge impact his life and death has made on the promotion of organ donation is largely due to the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, and the remarkable manner in which his family made a conscious decision to embrace the media to produce a positive influence, when other families would no doubt be struggling to come to terms with their grief. When tragedy strikes at the very heart of family life, we have little choice in how we feel about it; but we can choose how we behave subsequently. I have nothing but admiration for the Green family and their drive and determination to make something good come from such a painful loss.
There is little attention paid to the process and procedure of organ donation (which is possibly for the best from the perspective of most readers; although I would have liked to know more about this). However, Reg talks in great detail about the key characters and incidents that came in to play during the aftermath of Nicholas’ killing. Sometimes, if I am honest, I found the comprehensive listing of each and every name and event a little unnecessary and found myself skipping chunks of text. However, as a journalist, Reg is clearly a skilled writer and the book is a profound and interesting read, if for no other reason than it wonderfully illustrates the human ability to forgive and the power of endearing love at its finest.
Last week I wrote an article on organ donation in the UK. If you missed it, please read it now as it was The Nicholas Effect that prompted me to write it.