“Every Waking Moment” is the latest novel by evangelical fiction author and radio show host Chris Fabry.
The central character is Treha Langsam, a young woman who works as a janitor at a nursing home. Treha was given up by her mother as a young child and has very little memory of her growing up years. Treha has a special ability to connect with people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. In chapter 2 we are introduced to film maker Devin Hillis, who has a passion to make a documentary about nursing home patients and tell the stories about who they were before old age slowed their bodies and dulled their minds. When Hillis learns about Treha’s special ability to reach into elderly patients’ lives and draw then out, he naturally wants to film Treha in the process of connecting with the residents.
In chapter 11 Treha accidently sees a letter from one of the residents which seems to have clues about Treha’s mysterious past. Treha and her former boss Miriam Howard then join forces to follow up on the clues to learn more about Treha’s previous life.
A powerful theme of “Every Waking Moment” is recovering lost memory. Treha had no memory of growing up in foster homes, and needed Miriam and others to help piece together her history. Nursing home patients had forgotten much of their history but memories would surface, if only for a short while, if someone cared about their story and made the effort to reach inside and pull them out. Another theme is that each person has value, even those on the margins of society – the elderly, the handicapped.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of a real-life filmmaker who discovered a remarkable woman - English journalist and writer Malcolm Muggeridge was said to have "discovered" Mother Teresa when he filmed her in a BBC documentary in 1968. The documentary led to a book, Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge. The documentary and book propelled Mother Teresa to worldwide fame. But that is another story, not this one.
A copy of this book was given to me by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. (Tyndale House Publisher's media page for this book is here.)