You Will Forever Be My Always is the story of Charlie Wise, a self-centered man who cheats on his wife at every opportunity and ignores his friends until he needs them. He’s working on the Great American Novel, a task that four years on continues to evade every attempt to write much of anything. When he is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, he sees it as a death sentence, so he decides to get his affairs in order. In his case, they are actual affairs that are only part of his list of misdeeds for which he must atone.
His wife Margo sends him away while she recuperates from surgery, and he takes the opportunity to visit friends in Thailand and Morocco. In Thailand, he falls into his old ways and attempts a fling with a Thai woman. Saowopa speaks very little English but understands his loneliness and treats him with kindness and some flirtation. In his repeated attempts to seduce her, his failures further frustrate him. Charlie convinces himself he’s in love. Confronted with this misunderstanding, Saowopa rebuffs him in exasperation.
In Bangkok, he seeks advice from a Buddhist monk and a Catholic priest on righting his wrongs and finding salvation. Dissatisfied with their sincere counsel, he visits a friend in Morocco, thinking he might have some answers. His friend Brahim offers one piece of advice that Charlie takes to heart: good deeds will tip the scales in his favor. He immediately finds a way to test his friend’s words when he picks up a sheepherder trying to reach home to bury a loved one. He is surprised to see some of the mourners are Hassidic Jews, some of whom have lived their entire lives in a country whose population is 97 percent Muslim. Charlie has a heart-rending epiphany and decides it’s time to go home.
Charlie is afraid to contact his wife back in New York, convinced he hasn’t done enough to merit her forgiveness. He moves in temporarily with his brother and his wife to finally write the book. He thinks that if he can finish it, Margo will understand what he has been going through and welcome him home with open arms.
His transformation is not quite complete, and Charlie must endure confrontations that will lead him to realize that we are all just a work in progress. Despite his many conversations with men of faith, he is no closer to finding one who professes to have the answers to his questions.