Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Audiobook Review: The Brave by Nicholas Evans

Here is a summary of The Brave from the Hachette website:

Tom Bedford is living alone in the isolated wilds of Montana. Having distanced himself from his own troubled past, he rarely sees his ex-wife, and his son, Danny, is away in Iraq and hasn't spoken to him for years. Tom hasn't always been so removed from society. As a boy, his mother was a meteoric rising star in the glitzy, enchanted world of 1960s Hollywood. There, she fell in love with the suave Ray Montane, who played young Tom's courageous onscreen hero, Red McGraw, the fastest draw around. Tommy and his mother lived in a glamorous, Hollywood version of the Wild West.

Everything was perfect, until the gold flaking on their magical life began to chip away, revealing an uglier truth beneath. Ray was not who he seemed. Tommy and his mother fell into a deadly confrontation with him, and they fled Hollywood forever, into the wilderness of the real West.

As a man, Tom has put all of that behind him--or so he thinks. Unexpectedly, his ex-wife calls, frantic: Danny has been charged with murder. In the chaos of war, his son has been caught in a violent skirmish gone bloodily awry. The Army needs someone to pay for the mistake. Tom, forced into action, is now suddenly alive again and fighting to save the son he'd let slip away. To succeed, he must confront the violence in his own past, and he finds that these two selves--the past and the present--which he'd fought so long to keep separate, are inextricably connected. As father and son struggle to understand one another, both are compelled to learn the true meaning of bravery.

Beautifully interlacing the past and present, the author of The Horse Whisperer reminds us that we are tied to the glories and mistakes of our own history. The Brave lives up to its name, as one the most courageous and full-hearted novels of our time.

My Review:
The Brave turned out to be a very emotional audiobook that left the reader wondering how things could turn out good in the opening of the story, with a young boy visiting his mother in prison.  The story is read by Michael Emerson who I believe did an outstanding job of bringing to life the character of both young Tommy, and the man he grew to become known as Tom.

Tom is a divorced father living alone in Montana needing to offer support to his son Danny who is facing a military crisis.  Tom has never had a real relationship with his son since Danny was a young boy, and soon starts to revisit the memories of his own childhood as a way to come to terms with the man that he has become.  So the story proceeds to alternate between the present and the events that stand out in Tommy's childhood.

Tommy lived his early years in England and as many young boys at that age were, found himself obsessed with a cowboy show.  He seems to be a boy that is picked on quite often and that only gets worse when he is sent away to the Ashlawn Preparatory School.  That all changes for Tommy when his sister Diane shows up at the school to visit Tommy with his idol from his favorite cowboy show, Ray Montane.  Diane wanted to be an actress for as long as Tommy could remember and it appears that she has had her lucky break.  Ray pledges his love to Diane and offers to take both her and Tommy back to Hollywood with him and hopefully give her a chance at the 'big screen'.

When they arrive in Hollywood, life for Tommy and Diane is more than they ever could have imagined!  There was the glitz and glamour, Hollywood parties where Diane showed up on the handsome Ray's arm, and the opportunity for Diane to make herself known in the world of 'show biz'.  With this wonderful lifestyle how could it not have a happy ending?

As Diane's career seems to be evolving and is making a name for herself, Ray's career seems to be fizzling out as it appears to be the end of the cowboy era.  Diane see's a new side of Ray that is not as appealing as the man she first met.  And as he continues his downward spiral secrets and emotions will come full circle as we follow Tom's journey through his childhood memories.

I must admit that I wasn't really enjoying this audiobook when I first started it, but by the time I was done with the second disc there was no way I couldn't complete it.  It is full of great characters, family secrets, old time Hollywood, and turned out to be quite an emotional ride.  I do not hesitate in recommending this audiobook.

My Rating:  4/5

Disclosure:  This audiobook was provided to me from Anna at Hachette in exchange for an honest review.


bermudaonion said...

I've got this in print and will have to remember that it starts out slow.

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I'm so glad you liked it! I read it and really really enjoyed it!

Teresa said...

Ooh, I might have to pick this one up.