Official Review: Tears and Trombones by Nanci Lee Woody

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greenstripedgiraffe
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Official Review: Tears and Trombones by Nanci Lee Woody

Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 28 Nov 2017, 15:46

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Tears and Trombones" by Nanci Lee Woody.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Tears and Trombones by Nanci Lee Woody touched me on many levels. On the surface, the plot is simple. A Depression-era boy grows up and becomes a great musician. However, much more lies under the surface. Joey’s father is a hard, abusive man. He often drinks away the evenings and comes home raging. Joey’s mother is a gentle soul who loves music, art, and dancing. She soothes her husband while simultaneously encourages her son. The older brother, John, learns the construction business from his father. John and their father regularly taunt Joey. Joey’s father does everything possible to keep Joey from the one thing Joey loves: music.

I was truly moved to tears many times reading painful passages dealing with abuse in the home. The author treated the subject carefully, but realistically. With encouragement from music teachers in the schools he attended, Joey soon becomes a top player in the school band. For Joey, music is his passion, his life, his reason for living. On one hand, Joey’s father piles on chores and jobs in order to keep Joey from practicing or playing in concerts. On the other hand, Joey’s mother comes to all his concerts and often hides spare cash in order that Joey can have what he needs to grow academically as well as musically.

Another theme running through the book is the coming of age idea. Masterfully written, the book follows Joey through the preteen and teen confusion of friends, enemies, and girls. Caught in a complex triangle of who he loves and who loves him, Joey continually faces choices about what he thinks he should do and what he would rather do. Again, the author weaves this subplot sensitively and realistically.

Finally, the author shows how Joey develops musically. As a professional musician myself, I found this theme delightful. I felt Joey’s frustration when he could not make a single note sound out of an old dented trombone. His panic is real when he finds out that he cannot escape public performances. Not only does Joey deal with the normal stage fright, but he also deals with the knowledge that his father was going to be angry.

The character development throughout this book is beautiful. I felt that I knew the characters and was sorry to say goodbye to them when I finished. I felt the plot was developed at an appropriate pace. Enough “mundane” details are given to exude a sense of reality, but not so much that the storyline drags. I enjoyed the book from start to finish, but I did wonder if some of the musical terminology would lessen the interest of a non-musician. Additionally, there is a smidge of “adult content.” Even though I felt this worked well in the plot, I would want others to know in case that is an issue for someone. I definitely give this book 4 out of 4 stars.

******
Tears and Trombones
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Post by kandscreeley » 04 Dec 2017, 08:37

Abuse is a hard subject to read about much less to write well. There is a fine line between giving enough details to let the reader know what's going on and just overwhelming someone. Sounds like the author did a great job. I appreciate the good character development too. Thanks for introducing us to a lovely story.
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Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 04 Dec 2017, 10:48

kandscreeley wrote:
04 Dec 2017, 08:37
Abuse is a hard subject to read about much less to write well. There is a fine line between giving enough details to let the reader know what's going on and just overwhelming someone. Sounds like the author did a great job. I appreciate the good character development too. Thanks for introducing us to a lovely story.
I loved this story. It WAS rough, but to a great degree, the reader is "protected."
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Post by Mjgarrison » 04 Dec 2017, 11:25

Wow, this sounds like an amazing book. I love reading about some of the things I have dealt with in my life and this hits a lot of them. I think it helps me relate with the characters. I will definitely be reading this one. Thanks for the informative review.

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Post by Ali B » 04 Dec 2017, 17:41

This does sound like a lovely book and it's good to have difficult subjects addressed gently and thoughfully. I'll pop this on my bookshelf now as this is definitely one I'd like to read. Thank you for the thoughtful description.

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Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 04 Dec 2017, 21:20

Ali B wrote:
04 Dec 2017, 17:41
This does sound like a lovely book and it's good to have difficult subjects addressed gently and thoughfully. I'll pop this on my bookshelf now as this is definitely one I'd like to read. Thank you for the thoughtful description.
Thank you for your kind remarks! I hope you enjoy it if you get a chance to read it!
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Post by Kalin Adi » 05 Dec 2017, 00:28

This must be a very touching story if it almost brought you to tears. Themes such parental abuse and coming to age are very realistically deep; it's a good thing the author knew how to present them to the readers. I'm not sure if I could deal with the music terminology, though. Thanks for the review!

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Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 05 Dec 2017, 08:23

Kalin Adi wrote:
05 Dec 2017, 00:28
This must be a very touching story if it almost brought you to tears. Themes such parental abuse and coming to age are very realistically deep; it's a good thing the author knew how to present them to the readers. I'm not sure if I could deal with the music terminology, though. Thanks for the review!
I enjoyed this thoroughly :) And I loved the musical references and terms. I think others would enjoy despite the music references, but hard to say since I have that knowledge already :D
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Post by ParadoxicalWoman » 06 Dec 2017, 03:14

I'm intrigued to read this book. At the same time, I'm curious on why Joey's father does everything he can to keep Joey from music? I figured that this question will be answered if I read this book. Don't worry I won't be bothered with the music terminology as it will enable me to view and understand things from different perspective.
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Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 06 Dec 2017, 08:42

ParadoxicalWoman wrote:
06 Dec 2017, 03:14
I'm intrigued to read this book. At the same time, I'm curious on why Joey's father does everything he can to keep Joey from music? I figured that this question will be answered if I read this book. Don't worry I won't be bothered with the music terminology as it will enable me to view and understand things from different perspective.
To Joey's father (who is in the construction business), music is not manly. To the father, a real man does real work, drinks beer, and takes advantage of females. :( The father is also an abusive person - take those two concepts, and you have a perfect storm, so to speak.
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Post by Mercy Bolo » 06 Dec 2017, 10:41

Joey's quagmire is one that many young people can relate to. I'm glad that his mother tried her best to support her son's ambitions.
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Post by Gunnar Ohberg » 06 Dec 2017, 18:31

Sounds like a wonderful read. I love the title and the book cover as well. Definitely will consider picking this one up soon. Great review!

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Post by inaramid » 07 Dec 2017, 00:20

This does sound delightful. I loved the cover, and the story seems like it would resonate with all types of readers.

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Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 07 Dec 2017, 08:13

Gunnar Ohberg wrote:
06 Dec 2017, 18:31
Sounds like a wonderful read. I love the title and the book cover as well. Definitely will consider picking this one up soon. Great review!
Thanks for your kind comments! :oops: I really enjoyed it, myself.
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Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 07 Dec 2017, 08:16

inaramid wrote:
07 Dec 2017, 00:20
This does sound delightful. I loved the cover, and the story seems like it would resonate with all types of readers.
Thank you for your kind comments! :oops: It really is a lovely story :)
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