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When all is forgotten

BOOKS | Finding forgiveness before it’s too late

When all is forgotten
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IN SAVING GRAYSON (Tyndale 2023), author Chris Fabry introduces readers to a man who is running out of time. Grayson Hayes keeps having the same haunting dream about a woman who dies because he doesn’t save her in time. He can’t figure out the dream’s meaning, but he has an inkling that a trip back to his West Virginia hometown might help him make sense of the puzzle. Grayson, though, is in a race against himself as he tries to find the missing pieces before Alzheimer’s steals any more of his mind. His wife Lotty reluctantly agrees to the road trip, but only if a young black man named Josh goes with Grayson.

Armed with his legal pad—Grayson’s constant companion wherein he records everything important that he doesn’t want to forget—Grayson and Josh set off. An unfiltered and gruff Grayson is hard on Josh, revealing Grayson’s racist colors, but as the miles pass, readers will begin to pick up on little clues to the story’s outcome. Grayson’s arrival in West Virginia quickly turns complicated as he encounters people from his past. Although he no longer remembers most of them, they have not forgotten him or what he did, and it seems Grayson may have waited too long to restore those broken relationships.

The plot at times suffers from what feels like unrealistic scenarios (dementia patients generally remember people from the past better than those from the present, for instance), and the book occasionally gets bogged down with preachy dialogue. Throughout the scope of the story, however, Fabry strives to give readers a taste of the accelerating confusion, fear, and sense of hopelessness that dementia patients face—as well as the heartbreaking reality spouses and family members must navigate.

Fabry also focuses on the theme of forgiveness as Grayson unravels the meaning of his recurring dream. Ultimately Grayson can’t recall the details of his past sins, and he is left to wonder whether “God can forgive the things you can’t remember.” Thankfully Grayson will receive grace upon grace, and by book’s end he will know, in spite of all he’s done wrong, he is still loved. Note: The novel includes one arguable misuse of God’s name.

Kristin Chapman

Kristin is the children's book page editor and an editorial assistant for WORLD Magazine. She graduated from two World Journalism Institutes, including one in Asheville and one in Austin. Kristin resides with her husband, Jarrett, and their three children in New Castle, Pa.


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