Saving KC

Fiction - Drama
415 Pages
Reviewed on 05/21/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Steven Robson for Readers' Favorite

Saving KC by Grinnell Desjarlais is Kelly Chase’s story of redemption from an abyss few could contemplate. Having met his perfect match in Rita Siva, Kelly, a half-blood Blackfeet Indian from Montana, is swept into the insanity of the Vietnam War; a course change in his life that will indelibly scar not just Kelly, but many of the people he loves. The injuries inflicted by this shocking experience are both physical and psychological, and when things seem at their lowest ebb, Kelly briefly meets Kaitlin Chapin, a star musician who seems to exist in a world of perfection beyond his dreams. Kelly carries this memory with him through a period of great trial, little realizing that Kaitlin is haunted by her own demons; they both have damaged souls that could prove to be fatal. Survival is uncertain and happiness even more tenuous as each embraces the support of their friends, family, and the ethereal spirit of the Indian people to find their futures. Saving KC has the full picture, and you must read this astoundingly wonderful book to find out.

Grinnell Desjarlais’ Saving KC has to be one of the most incredible debut books I have read. The story is perfectly paced, captivating, emotionally powerful, and shows a profound depth of understanding of the psychological issues of the main players and of the spiritual world of the Native American culture. All of the characters are not only genuinely relatable but uniquely varied and entertaining in their own right. The complexity of the many relationships has been handled with superb craft; at no time was this complexity muddled by confusion, which commonly happens with other books. This is one of those rare gems where I would be hard-pressed to identify a favorite character or relationship. They are all just simply amazing. Saving KC is definitely a book I will recommend to all readers as a first-rate adventure into the vast resources of the human spirit and the power of love. An exceptional book.

Grant Leishman

Saving KC by Grinnell Desjarlais is a story that explores the restorative power of love on broken human beings. Kelly Chase was a Montanan cowboy, the son of a full-blooded Blackfoot Native American and his beloved blonde mother. Desperate to escape the strictures of farm life and his father’s domination, Kelly dreamt of visiting California. When he finally achieved his dream, he met, fell in love with, and got engaged to the gorgeous Rita. Drafted into the army to serve in Vietnam, Kelly was captured and for three long years was held by the North Vietnamese, tortured and beaten regularly before being rescued, near death, by an American patrol. It will take years for Kelly to recover, to heal, and to reintegrate into an American society that had given him up for dead. When Kelly discovers his beloved Rita believed he had died in Vietnam and had since married someone else, his world falls apart. A chance encounter with Kaitlin, a young singing sensation, in a church one day leads Kelly on a new path that will change both of their lives forever. Kaitlin is struggling to cope with the sudden fame of stardom and is naturally suspicious of any man seeking her interest, wondering if it is her he is interested in, or her money and fame. Can these two struggling, broken young people find in each other the peace, support, and love they are both so desperately looking for, or will their traumas prove too much for even love to conquer?

Saving KC is a thought-provoking read from both main characters’ perspectives. So many soldiers returned from Vietnam unable to cope in a society that had changed dramatically since they left. Similarly, Kaitlin comes across as a typical young singer, dominated by her mother’s determination for success and unable to step off the escalator to superstardom, and unable to accept her success and adulation, as deserved. Author Grinnell Desjarlais has created a believable and moral character in Kelly Chase who, despite the trauma he has suffered, has somehow managed to maintain his humility, dignity, and morality. The author pulls no punches in the description of the brutal treatment received by Kelly from his captor, nor the horrific injuries inflicted on him. The struggles Kelly endures to reenter a society he no longer feels a part of and the suffering of his alcoholism is truly heart-rending. Similarly, with Kaitlin, her inability to trust and the feeling that she is being used by everyone around her is well written and totally believable.

What I particularly liked about the story was the strength of the relationships that were built between Kelly’s closest friends, Rita’s family, and the character of Kelly’s father who would play such a large part in the couple’s ultimate salvation. The close similarity between Kaitlin and her brother Ramon and a famous historical brother and sister act of the ’70s was certainly not lost on this reader and it definitely added to the growing tension as Kaitlin’s problems became more apparent later in the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and can highly recommend it.