Who Okayed This?! The Riveting Life of Grant Davis Explores Beauty Against a Backdrop of Mystery
If we are honest with ourselves, most of us define beauty by what we see, subjective though that may be. While we are attracted to the innate goodness of the stranger on the subway who offers us their seat during rush hour, we are still, in the end, dazzled more by the latest Hollywood celebrity or an architectural masterpiece. In his thriller Who Okayed This?! The Riveting Life of Grant Davis, award-winning author Philip E. Barrington delves into the true meaning of beauty through his main character, who is forced to see the world and other people differently when his closest friends try to kill him.
“I think Grant is like a lot of people today who wrestle with the question of what, exactly, is beautiful,” says Philip E. Barrington. “We have so much competing for our attention, yet Helen Keller said it best: ‘The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.’ The question is what does it take for any of us to feel beauty, not just see it?”
In Who Okayed This?!, the answer for Grant Davis is his impending death. When he is attacked one night in his home and injected with a potentially lethal toxin, he must figure out why he was targeted and who his friends truly are.
Philip E. Barrington says that while much of the novel focuses on Grant’s courageous race against time to find an antidote and evade his enemies, the character grapples with betrayal and cynicism about the world around him.
“Life is suddenly very different, and he cannot help but look at the waitress in a cafe or at the man standing next to him at a train station with new eyes,” Philip E. Barrington says. “Where is the beauty? If he cannot trust what he sees, then is everything as cold as it now appears?”
As Grant discovers, beauty can exist in the midst of corruption and ulterior motives. With his life’s clock winding down, he has new eyes that allow him to more deeply treasure the little moments and see past outer appearances.
“Grant undergoes a metamorphosis of sorts even as he fights for his life,” Philip E. Barrington reveals. “His values deepen, and he asks himself questions that we all think about sooner or later, including how to know when someone really is in your corner and will be there for you in times of trouble.”
Philip E. Barrington grew up in New York City, where he worked in the world of luxury goods at the Plaza in Manhattan. His own life was upended by a horrific accident when he was crushed between two cars. He remembers the bewilderment and disorientation that he felt when he woke up in a hospital bed.
“One moment, I had been just fine, and the next, I was wearing a Philadelphia collar around my neck, and I had two metal wrist-splints on both wrists and a cast from my right knee down to my toes,” Philip E. Barrington recalls. “I had concussion syndrome as well as multiple herniations in my neck and back, and the only way I could get around was by scooter.”
He says he learned very quickly who his true friends were, as many deserted him in his time of need. He was able to use that experience to make the emotions and reactions of Grant more realistic when he learns his friends are behind the attack.
“I was also very fortunate to cross paths with a woman who used a wheelchair due to a serious illness,” Philip E. Barrington reveals. “I was inspired by her full recovery, which she attributed to changing her diet and mindset. She was also a best-selling author, and this motivated me to begin writing my book.”
The ideas for Who Okayed This?! The Riveting Life of Grant Davis flew onto the page, and within a few years, he had created his first “faction” novel (a book that is based on some true events).
“In some ways, I had my own Grant Davis experience because of my accident,” Philip E. Barrington reflects. “Thankfully, I have made a full recovery, and I’m having a great time working on my second book as well as learning more about photography, cell physiology, and geo/bio physics.”
Philip E. Barrington says that there are no easy answers about true beauty and people in Who Okayed This?! for the simple reason that life itself often defies them.
“What Grant ultimately learns, regardless of his fate, is that the world is not one way or another,” Philip E. Barrington says. “Beauty exists alongside the ugliness, and if we rely on our hearts and not our eyes, we will experience more often the true beauty that is within all of us.”
Philip E. Barrington is the author of Who Okayed This?! The Riveting Life of Grant Davis, which is the Stellar book award recipient winner of 2022. Who Okayed This?! can be purchased on Amazon or on Barnes & Noble.