A portrait of the harrowing despair and remarkable courage of a middle-class family tormented beyond endurance by a mindless act of violence.
Chris Carter, at 24, a medical student, had it all. Good looks, intelligence, a winning personality, a loving family. His girlfriend, Louise, was his dream girl, and he had everything ahead of him, everything to live for....
Until he was mugged after walking Louise home from his sister’s birthday party—and his world and the world of all those who knew him was changed forever.
His brain damage was significant, and it was touch-and-go whether he would ever again be the person he was, ever again be able to leave the hospital bed and walk outside in the summer sun.
His family and friends—simple, good folk— struggled to come to grips with their changed reality, and were forced into decisions that no one should ever have to make.
Chris’ mother, Frannie, struggled to hold the family together, while consumed with grief.
Vince, Chris’ father, dodged reality and continued his unrealistic existence until reality could not be denied.
Jeannie, Chris’ younger sister, who always considered herself a second class citizen, didn’t know how to seize the advantage Chris’ hospitalization offered.
Martha, Frannie’s sister, was the steel in the family’s spine until her own faith was severely tested by a tragedy in her own immediate family.
Father Norman, Chris’ friend and parish priest, was forced to choose between his church and his friend. His battle about what was right and wrong pitted him against Father Whittier, his pastor, and his God.
Dr. Meredith, the neurosurgeon who operated on Chris, not only faced incredible medical problems, but also the treachery of his subordinates, particularly Dr. Prendergast, a research-oriented psychologist.
Dr. Prendergast saw Chris as a unique test subject and, despite warnings by Dr. Meredith to the contrary, tried to get Chris to participate in his sensory deprivation experiments.
Carol, Chris’ nurse, who found a way to communicate with Chris beyond the superficial and the mundane, changed the course of events.