Book Review: Looking Into You

Looking Into YouIn Looking Into You by Chris Fabry, Paige Redwine is an English professor at a college in Nashville. Only her parents know her secret: some twenty years before, she became pregnant and placed her baby for adoption at the insistence of her parents. Told that the father of her baby died, Paige had no choice but to go on with her life. But she feels stuck: she’s supposed to be finishing her dissertation on a mother’s love in literature, but she can’t seem to make progress. She also feels stuck in a relationship with a nice man who wants to be more than friends, but she can’t seem to move forward.

Then one day a coworker tells her about a documentary she saw about a nursing home’s residents and workers (told in Every Waking Moment). Among the nursing home staff was a girl in her twenties who had been placed for adoption but ended up being passed through the system. The girl had nystagmus, which caused her eyes to move rapidly, and when overwhelmed she made a typing motion with her hands. She wasn’t very expressive, but she had an unusual way with the residents, especially those who couldn’t or didn’t communicate. Paige is jolted when she learns the girl’s name: Treha, the unusual name she had purposefully given the baby she had placed for adoption.

Shaken, Paige finds and watches the documentary. But even now, knowing where her daughter is and what she has been through, Paige is hesitant to reach out. But then, “indecision made the decision” for her: suddenly Treha shows up as a student in one of Paige’s classes, unaware that Paige is her mother.

The point of view switches back and forth between Paige and Treha, and also occasionally to Miriam, Treha’s boss at the nursing home. I enjoyed seeing both sides as mother and daughter learn to overcome their fears to reach out and have a crash course in mother-daughter relationships. I’m glad Fabry didn’t paint this too rosy: every relationship has its rough spots, and both women had a lot to learn in relating to one another. “Grace allows you to see yourself in light of the past, not in the shadow of it.”

This book drew me in right away, and the ordeals of both women touched my heart. I think this book could be read as a stand-alone – I had forgotten much of Every Waking Moment when I started this book. But I’d recommend them both.

(Sharing with Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books,  Literary Musing Monday, Carole’s Books You Loved)

13 thoughts on “Book Review: Looking Into You

  1. Barbara, I loved both these books too! And I HIGHLY recommend Chris Fabry’s latest book, Under a Cloudless Sky, which came out in January, I think. Do you listen to Chris Fabry on the radio? I’ve been listening to him for many years.

    • I’ve enjoyed several of Fabry’s books. I had not heard of his new one, so I will look it up! I’ve only heard him on the radio as the announcer for Adrian Roger’s program.

  2. Thank you for bringing this book to my attention, Barbara. I have always enjoyed Chris Fabray’s style of writing and this book sounds really good. Maybe I should purchase both books! 🙂

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  4. I’ve admired Chris Fabry’s presence on the air waves for years, so I”m sure I’d love his writing! I didn’t know he was an author as well. Thanks, Barbara, for your good work!

  5. Is this his new one, Barbara? I think I will reread Every Waking Moment just to refresh my memory because I do not really remember any of it and then get this one.

    • It’s been out for a year and a half, so not too new. I’m not sure if he has had anything else out in the meantime. I think it would be a good idea to reread that one first. I had forgotten much of it. He does recap a little bit, but I wished I had read them closer together.

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