Friday, January 4, 2013

Not in the Heart by Chris Farby

  Another dramatic heart transplant story...  Chris Fabry writes with more skill than Charles Martin, but some of the same flaws riddle this book:

  • Fabry also overdoes it.  Truman Wiley cannot simply be a writer whose son needs a new heart.  Instead he is an unemployed writer with a gambling addiction who has lost his house and car and is dead broke and who has thugs coming after him and his family because he cannot pay a mob boss the loan he gambled away.  And that's not enough... oh no... Truman had a difficult childhood with an alcoholic father; he is estranged from his now-Christian wife and his only daughter  AND he has to go through the emotional trauma of interviewing a man on death row (for the 2nd time in his life!!).  Seriously, the only thing missing was the final hurricane scene where his house is flattened.  Well, on second thought.... there is a final scene much like that where he looses something more precious than his house.  Oh dear...
  • the ending is predictable.  Oh yes.  You'll know where his son's heart is going to come from by the mid point in the book.
  • Farby also needs a ruthless editor.  Check out this clunker. Truman's wife is thinking about the small sizzle that she felt with Truman the day before and she thinks:  "It had been so long since they had been together that way.  It had been so long since she had felt any warmth at all.  But at that moment, sitting next to him, had been like the slow thaw of a Thanksgiving turkey.  The hardness and coldness of the bird in the fridge was still there, just under the surface, and the neck and gibblets were still firmly trapped, but with a little time and perhaps some running water, there was potential." pg 309.      Seriously!  Her reawakening desire is like a thawing turkey... gibblets and all.  Wow... that's enough to make me want to take a cold shower... or hop in the oven!  Oh and yes, the school-girly reference to "that way" (italics included) is for real - they are husband and wife after all; how about just come on out and say it already.  We can handle it; we really can.

On the up side:

  •  those who were bored by lengthy medical descriptions will be spared that pain; Fabry avoid a medical textbook rehash
  • there should be a second point here, eh?  How about:  Fabry goes easy on the symbolic stuff compared to Charles Martin, although it's certainly there if you're inclined in that way.
Recommendation: Better than When Crickets Cry, but no gem.

* reviewed for our church library.


  1. LOL this made me laugh! Great review Tessa, Can't wait to get out of the church library;)

  2. made me laugh too! I think there's going to be a waiting list :)


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