Saving Grayson – Chris Fabry

Saving Grayson by Chris Fabry
Also by this author: Overcomer, A Piece of the Moon
Published by Tyndale on November 7, 2023
Genres: Fiction, Christian, General
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Grayson Hayes doesn’t remember things as well as he used to, but he’s sure his time is running out. Diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, he realizes he has a small window of time left to right a terrible injustice―he just can’t remember what it is.

Convinced of the importance of his mission, he embarks on a journey to the small West Virginia town of his childhood hoping he can put together the fractured pieces of his memory and set things right. But as the past becomes more clear, he wonders if God forgives the sins he can’t remember.

Grayson Hayes is losing it. It being almost everything that has made his life worth living. His writing. His wit. His memory. There’s something in his past that’s troubling him. Solving that mystery and writing about it won’t undo what he’s losing but it just may ensure that his wife will be cared for once he’s gone. And so begins a wild, disorienting journey back into Grayson’s past with twists and turns you’ll never expect. Saving Grayson is a nuanced, heartfelt story of longing to atone for the past even when you can’t remember what it was.

Saving Grayson is a story of grace, forgiveness, and undeserved salvation. It’s a story of hope and despair, heartache, regret, and reconciliation. It’s not an easy story. Even at the end, the happily ever after is more than tinged with all the pain and brokenness that’s gone on before. It’s a realistic portrait of life—a broken and beautiful hallelujah—that causes us to reflect on our own lives and just perhaps reach out to those nearest to us and hold them a bit tighter.

Chris Fabry never fails to draw me into the worlds he creates. There’s a realism, an authenticity, that is often lacking in fiction—where characters can be too perfect or too stereotypical or too generic and aren’t representing themselves as a character but as a character type. The baseline plot of Saving Grayson is not anything unique: man returns to his roots to face his past. It’s the characters and their individuality and their particular situations—and how they are specific to themselves but yet general enough to be felt and understood by almost every reader—that makes Saving Grayson stand out.

In particular, I want to commend Fabry for the realistic way in which he presents dementia. Mental illness is often a poorly-done trope in media, but Fabry’s representation is hauntingly accurate while allowing room for the creative license necessary to move the plot forward. Because Saving Grayson is told through the lens of Grayson, readers both get into the mind of an individual struggling with dementia—in both their lucid and not so lucid moments—and it creates an unreliable narrator that further shrouds the plot in mystery. You understand and feel Grayson’s frustration. Dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other age-related cognitive decline is something that all of us either will be affected by or know of someone who has been affected by it. For me, Grayson was my grandfather and that drew me into the story and helped me connect with it even more.

Saving Grayson is the story of relationships. It’s life being story. This novel could have been double the length and I would not have complained. It’s engaging, thought-provoking, and could even be life-changing. Please don’t ask me to rank my favorite Chris Fabry novels, but if I had to this one would be near the top.