Tuesday, January 20, 2015

So Brave, Young, and Handsome, by Leif Enger

Last year in January I invited six people to choose six titles for me to read during 2014. Well, I didn't manage to get all six read but I'm giving myself until the end of January to finish them. (Does that count? I don't think so but let's just pretend, shall we?) One of the titles suggested was So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger. Amy from Hope is the Word put this book forward for me to read it and I was glad of it because I remember enjoying Enger's other title, Peace Like a River. (I have linked that title to my very confusing, disoriented sounding review which I wrote back in 2006 and now despise. Why is anyone reading this blog? I really have no idea what I was attempting to communicate back then! Let's stop talking about it.) Anyway, that to explain that I needed to read So Brave, Young, and Handsome and now I can happily say that I have done so.

I read this book over a period of two days and found it very entertaining. It's not anything like what I imagined it would be. It was better. To give you an idea of what the story is about, should you not be familiar with this title, it is set in Minnesota in 1915. The main protagonist in the book is a dried up author named Monte Becket. Monte had written a best seller and his publisher is clamoring for another. Monte has been pretending that he is chock full of ideas for other books but that's not the truth of the matter. The guilt of not being able to write something out begins to weigh on him. Unfortunately the words just aren't coming. He is really beginning to out of sorts with life in general when he meets a man by the name of Glendon Hale. Hale has a somewhat murky and mysterious past but Monte is drawn towards the mystery of who Hale is. When Hale asks Becket to travel with him to Mexico, Becket agrees to go along. He figures on having a nice getaway with his pal but his trip is anything but predictable or pleasant. As it turns out, Hale's past is out hunting for him and Becket gets entangled in one huge mess. I won't say anything more than that. If you want to read of their adventures, you are going to have to read the book for yourself!

Should you read the book for yourself? Oh yes! Absolutely! So Brave, Young, and Handsome can be classified as a western, just like Peace Like a River. I wouldn't say that that is a genre that I am drawn to, but it is one I enjoy every now and again. This story is rich with outlaws, inlaws, and everything in between. The scene is set all over the western United States and if you read it, you will find yourself on a very incredible and highly entertaining adventure. What I love about Enger's books is that despite the fact that he deals with some pretty hefty subject matters, he is extremely discrete. These are "clean" books in the sense that he paints a picture without being overly descriptive. There are no sex scenes (although some are alluded to in a manner which suits the characters but does not engage your imagination) and little to no cussing. (I don't recall any although in retrospect it seems sort of strange so maybe I missed something.) It's the wild west with horses, guns, rickety old vehicles, camping under the stars and sharp shooting circus performers. Mostly I found this book to be plain, good fun. I don't feel any hesitations in being able to recommend this story to others.

I wish I had read this book "on time" but I'm glad to have read it at all. Thanks, Amy, for suggesting it to me. I've now read it and passed it along to Jonathan. I think he'll get a kick out of it also.


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

So glad you enjoyed it! Enger's books are pure enjoyment, that's for sure.

Barbara H. said...

This is on my very, very long list of books I want to read based on blog reviews and recommendations. I do want to get to it some day. I am not a fan of westerns at all, but every now and then the story surpasses the genre, as his first book did.

Shonya said...

I enjoy the occasional Louis L'Amour, so I may have to try one of these titles.

Beckie B. said...

I loved Peace Like A River. The informal book club at the women's transitional center where I volunteer chose this book for a read-a-long. It was magical. I bought So Brave for my husband thinking he would love it (I have not read it). He was less than enthusiastic about it. But I don't always (read ever) let his tastes dictate what book I will read and enjoy! So this one is still in my TBR pile waiting for that perfect time to read it. Thanks for your thoughts.

Susanne said...

Your convincing me to step out of my norm and give the two titles by this author a try.

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