Feb 8, 2012

Not in the Heart by Chris Fabry

Truman Wiley used to report news stories from around the world, but now the most troubling headlines are his own. He’s out of work, out of touch with his family, out of his home. But nothing dogs him more than his son’s failing heart.

With mounting hospital bills and Truman’s penchant for gambling his savings, the situation seems hopeless . . . until his estranged wife throws him a lifeline—the chance to write the story of a death row inmate, a man convicted of murder who wants to donate his heart to Truman’s son.

As the execution clock ticks down, Truman uncovers disturbing evidence that points to a different killer. For his son to live, must an innocent man die? Truman’s investigation draws him down a path that will change his life, his family, and the destinies of two men forever.

Chris Fabry is an award-winning author and radio personality who hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio. He is also heard on Love Worth Finding, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and other radio programs. A 1982 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and a native of West Virginia, Chris and his wife, Andrea, now live in Arizona and are the parents of nine children.

Chris's novels, which include Dogwood, June Bug, Almost Heaven, and Not in the Heart, have won two Christy Awards and an ECPA Christian Book Award, but it's his lyrical prose and tales of redemption that keep readers returning for more. He has also published more than 65 other books, including nonfiction and novels for children and young adults. He coauthored the Left Behind: The Kids series with Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, as well as the Red Rock Mysteries and the Wormling series with Jerry B. Jenkins. RPM is his latest series for kids and explores the exciting world of NASCAR. Visit his Web site at http://www.chrisfabry.com.

Not in the Heart is the type of book that I will remember for a very long time. Even though it's fiction, I have post-it notes and bookmarks throughout the entire book, marking special places that I want to remember.

Here is first quote that I marked:

“Every heart has its secret sorrows which the world knows not, and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Truman is the main character in this book, and he is a lost soul. His marriage is on the rocks, he is unemployed, his son will die if he doesn't get a heart transplant, the bank foreclosed on his cottage, his car was repossessed, he has huge gambling debts that he can't pay off, and the hospital is sending their overdue account to collections, and most importantly - he has no faith in God.

Just like in real life, this book does not have a happy ending. The turmoil and trials that this family went through were so devastating that it is hard to imagine anyone having to deal with so much. Yet, their loyalty to each other in spite of the circumstances is incredibly inspiring.

Chris Fabry, the author of this book, has made a special request. He would like to know, “Who is your Truman? Everyone knows someone who is addicted, someone you’re praying for. Do you hold out hope or just resign yourself that things will never change? I’m hoping to hear stories of changed lives, changed Trumans because of it.”

Who is my Truman? The first quote that I marked in this book had me immediately think of a dear friend of mine. Things have happened in his life that should never happen to anyone. He often comes across as "cold" or unfriendly, but deep down I see a sadness that breaks my heart. He may not be addicted like Truman, but I believe he has the same crippling feelings.

On page 200, there is another quote that describes my friend perfectly.

"... And thinking about someone doesn't mean you care about them. It's not the same."

"Caring about someone by thinking about them but never coming to see them, never calling them?"

My friend has an almost non-existent relationship with his adult children and his grandchildren. I know he thinks about them often and wishes that things were different. He has been hurt, and he doesn't want to be hurt or rejected again. Instead of taking a chance and making the first move, the division just gets larger, and his heart seems to get sadder.

I wonder what my friend would think if I handed him a copy of this book. Would he see himself in the story? Would he find the courage to reach out to his estranged family? Or would he continue in the same way as always, and possibly miss out on creating some happy memories with his family before it's too late?

As you can probably tell, I loved this story. I didn't love the things that Truman did, but I think I understood him. He got himself caught up in a vicious circle of depression and addiction. Yet there is always hope, even in the most difficult situations. I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure: Book received through The B&B Media Group in exchange for my honest review.


  1. I'm reading this one right now. I'm 100 pages in and it's really good so far!

  2. What an interesting book review! Sounds like a book I would enjoy reading.

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