Book Review: So Brave, Young and Handsome

April 15, 2013 at 11:42 am | Posted in Books and Movies | Leave a comment

I recently finished Leif Enger’s second novel, So Brave, Young, and Handsome.  It was an interesting story in a similar style to his first novel, Peace Like a River, but not near as good.  That the main character of this book is an author who wrote a popular book but struggled to get another written for his publisher because none of his ideas were good enough, makes me wonder if the early part of this book is autobiographical.

Though the story was not near as good as I hoped or expected, one quote made the book worth finding.  The story concerns an older man who left his wife early in life and later regretted it.  His discussion with the main character includes this valuable exchange as an understanding of forgiving ourselves and making amends:

We sat quiet while he smoked the tobacco down and stubbed it out on his boot heel.  He said, “Monte, I didn’t ever ask her forgiveness.  I was a stupid youngster, you understand.  My reasons for leaving seemed good, but they weren’t.  They were poor and selfish.”
My insides shrank.  I sensed a bad ending on the way.
“I am shortly bound for Mexico,” he said.
“But she remarried, you said.”
“I don’t aim to win her back.  No – to try would be another wrong against her.”
“After so many years, does it matter if she forgives you?”
“It matters that I ask.”       (p. 29)

Wow!  That’s good stuff!

If Enger writes a third novel, I’ll read it, first because he has such a good grasp of human nature, and that comes out in his books, and second because Peace Like a River was so good, I have to give him another try.

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