Category: Contemporary, Fiction, Book Review, Reading, Books
Nothing could have prepared Brennan Glover for the car crash that claimed the lives of his wife and six-year-old daughter. Stricken with grief, the only things that get him through each day are breaking his sobriety and clinging to Fender—the family dog and the sole survivor of the crash.
Brennan Glover is on a downward spiral after the crash which killed his wife and small daughter and he’s fallen off the wagon in spectacular style. The only survivor of the crash was Fender, the twelve year old Beagle Brennan rescued after the dog had been abandoned on the roadside. Brennan’s world has lost all meaning. This tragedy following his dysfunctional childhood and his best friend, Colin’s suicide, just about does for him. But Fender kept him going through that dark period of his life and there’s a strong bond between them. It’s a lovely relationship, with great interactions, and one I can relate to.
Brennan is frightened and confused, and clinging on to Fender, his lifeline. Rocco and Franky, his two good friends, are worried and try to talk him into taking a road trip in the hope that it might help Brennan to come to terms with his grief and give him the will to move forward. In the end, after much persuasion, he agrees, but only if Fender comes along.
Three men and a dog sped down the interstate, hours and towns rolling by in a haze. The atmosphere in the car was thick with suffocating apprehension, as though no one knew what was safe to discuss and what was best left unsaid. Rocco and Franky engaged in idle chitchat in the front, careful to tiptoe around anything that might trigger a reaction from Brennan.
The chapters alternate between past and present, building a picture of Brennan’s character and life, his meeting and subsequent relationship with Rosie and their family life. It’s an emotional read, the author delving deep into the grieving process. The main characters are complex and realistic, all with tough backgrounds and less than straightforward lives. As the story unfolds we learn more about each of them through their conversations and reminiscences.
The story touches on several topics relevant to most of us, including the healing nature and strength of relationships and forgiveness, not to mention the huge part a dog, or any animal, can play in someone’s life. I enjoyed the road trip aspect, the details relating to each stopping place and the historical snippets attached to each one, made more authentic because it’s a trip the author has taken with his wife and two dogs.
It was good to see the character development as the trip progressed and, I’m glad to say, the story ended on a hopeful note. It’s an evocative read with one particular thread that generated several soggy tissues.
I chose to read and review Fender based on a digital copy received from the author through a giveaway with R&R Book Tours
From bad checks to bathroom graffiti, Brent Jones has always been drawn to writing. He won a national creative writing competition at the age of fourteen, although he can’t recall what the story was about. Seventeen years later, he gave up his freelance career as a social media manager to pursue creative writing full-time. ‘Fender’ and ‘The Fifteenth of June’ are his first two novels.
Jones writes from his home in Fort Erie, Canada. He’s happily married, a bearded cyclist, a mediocre guitarist, (sometimes) vegetarian, and the proud owner of two dogs with a God complex.