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Tears and Trombones

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A depression-era boy wants badly to become a classical musician against the wishes of his hard drinking, heavy equipment operating father. His long-suffering mother wants him to escape the kind of life she’s had and supports his musical dream. He convinces himself that music is the most important thing in his life and marries the woman who has set her sights on him and is ...more
Kindle Edition, 312 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Sand Hill Review Press
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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 ·  85 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Marta Tandori
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Tears and Trombones by talented author, Nanci Lee Woody, is a poignant coming of age story that underscores the fact that there are sacrifices to make in the pursuit of a dream.

The Second World War is still raging when nine-year-old Joey, a poor kid considered to be nothing but ‘fruit picking trash’ by many of his peers, goes to the symphony for the first time and becomes enchanted by the glorious music he hears – so much so that he immediately decides to become a classical musician. With the
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
The life story of a talented trombonist is told in this 'based on fact' novel. The reader is immersed in his life - from his humble beginnings, struggles with his family, hard work in school to his triumphs as a professional musician. There are indeed many tears in this tale of trombones. The author incorporates many details from widely varied walks of life - from road construction to the art of trombone playing, the details are authentic and add to the story. While the protagonist's personal ...more
Renee Spicuzza
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
“Tears and Trombones: Based on a True Story” is Nanci Lee Woody’s novel following a young man trying to achieve success with his passions. He grows up with typical parent dynamics that are seen in many novels, where it is a polar opposite for support. His father is a blue-collar worker with some love of alcohol, while his mother is loving and supportive of his career goals, hoping to help him escape the life she ended up with. Music becomes his end all, be all in life, which is fine, but at some ...more
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This novel took me a while to finish because it is one of those books where you need to take it all in and savor it in order to truly appreciate its value and beauty. The story is an emotional rollercoaster, based around a main character who was given a few hurdles to jump over very early in life. With a little love and compassion though, he manages to fall in love and reach for his dreams.
I found the writing in this novel to be especially amazing as it really brings the story to life. The
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
“Tears and Trombones”, is an engaging, emotional story based on the journey of young boy Joey and his passion to fulfil his dream. Joey wants to be become a classical musician and fights all odds starting from his family to his personal hard drinking. It is the story of hope, passion of a young boy and what level he goes to achieve it obviously there are losses with gains.
There are many good elements in the story- character transformation, passion for dreams and driven by those, love,
Marie Bungard
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely, relatable read. Often people don't understand the mind of the artist. This book gives great insight into the mind of a strong young man and how he determined to follow his dream.
Margot Guadalupe
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How far would you go to make your dream come true? I think I have no words to describe all the feelings I had to pass through as I read this beautiful story. I just loved everything in this novel, it is a well developed and narrated story which is full of facts that I personally enjoyed a lot. I liked a lot the main character because you get to know how his life changes since he was a little boy until he becomes an adult, you see his transformation and how he finds peace in music. I strongly ...more
Tom Nguyen
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It’s a beautiful story that really moved me in my current situation, made me realize there is always hope despite hardships and circumstances. I don’t like to say what exactly is in the book because of spoilers, but I would definitely recommend this book for one of those weekends when you are feeling lost and hopeless.

A few lessons I learned here, though, to find one’s passion and talent, then working hard at it. I just can’t explain more because, as I said before, spoilers. A very emotional
Jimmy Jefferson
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Chasing your dreams and teaching for the stars

This is a well written great novel based on real events. The main character Joey is faced with the choice of chasing his dreams or watching them slip away. He loves music and the symphony. As the story develops, Joey struggles with love and loss, his dreams of being a musician, and his father dying in the hospital. This is a real story with great emotion. I would recommend this one for anyone. I think it was very well written and a emotional ride
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This biography is truly a work of art. Nanci Lee Woody skillfully writes the life of Joey Woodman, an accomplished trombonist. The more successful he is as a musician the further his marriage crumbles.
Tears and Trombones start when Joey, as a young boy, hears a symphony for the first time. At that moment he decides that is what he wants for his life. He doesn’t waiver in his drive to master his education and becoming the best trombone player he can become.
Although his mind is set for his future,
James Hanna
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Those who hear the Muse's song will typically clash with the expectations of others: tone-deaf demands that will kill the artist's dream if given half a chance. Such is the dilemma of Joey, an aspiring musician who must deal with the contempt of his father, a brutal laborer, and the insensitivity of a girlfriend who does not understand his real passion. Told in a tight gripping prose, Tears and Trombones trace's Joey's struggle to overcome a bleak, pedestrian environment, rise in the music ...more
Lisa Potocar
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a heart-wrenching but inspirational story about a boy who grows into a man while struggling to overcome an abusive home life and become the best trombonist in the world. The author does a tremendous job of making us readers feel Joey’s emotional highs and lows, in transporting us to the depression era, and in encouraging us to sing, hum, or just sit back and listen to the music and musicians of the times. It’s no wonder this story was bestowed an Independent Publishers medal (IPPY) for ...more
May 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have a real love/hate relationship with this book

Wow! I

I have known this family, it is possible that we all have known this family, and that is really sad. The wonderful thing about Ms. Wood's writing, is her ability to bring the characters alive in such a way that we recognize them. For Joe to have survived his childhood with the strength of will to pursue his dreams, in spite of the tearing down he experienced is a testimony to the human spirit, and to hope.

I think that that is
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Like most good 'true stories' Tears and Trombones left me feeling privileged to have a had a glimpse of an extraordinary life. Reading it made me realised how incredibly focused you need to be to achieve your dreams but left me wondering how many consider the sacrifices they make and whether they realise they have made them until it is too late. A wonderfully written and thought provoking book which brings the sounds of yesterday to life once again.
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tears and Trombones is a story of hurt and triumph. It's an engaging story and it's nice to find a good book of this caliber!
Brian Aird
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tears and Trombones by Nanci Lee Woody is the story of a musically accomplished young man, Joey Woodman. It begins at the bedside of his medically stricken father and soon the hospital machines begin to blare and the sad, but inspirational story of the talented musician, begins.

His first encounter into the realm of transformational music begins with an exciting journey to San Francisco. There he attends a concert and is transported into a different world by hearing the flawless performance of
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! "Tears and Trombones" captivated me on page one. Even the title grabbed my attention, and I just couldn't put it down. My definition of a great book is when I stay up until midnight or one am reading because I am so absorbed in it that I lose all track of time. This was the case with this book. It's based on a true story, and it rings true from page one. I heard the author speak, and she said it was based upon stories that her husband told her. She did a great job of ...more
Ivan Hecimovic
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Tears and Trombones is emotional story about strong-willed boy who wanted to pursue his dreams, regardless of the fact that this seemed far from possible.
Pursuing one’s dream is often very difficult task. There are many reasons why this is the case: either a person has some personal struggles and issues that she needs to deal with, but she does not want to do that or does not know how to do that, or there is something else. Tears and Trombones is a story about strong will and resilience. It is
Laurel Anne Hill
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
At age nine, Joey discovers—almost by accident—the power and lure of classical music. He dreams of becoming a musician, despite his alcoholic father’s disapproval and their family’s poverty. He chooses to play the trombone because one is available through school. “Tears and Trombones” reveals Joey’s long and traumatic struggle to survive, succeed, sort out his feelings for the two women who seek his love, and find inner peace. A touching, emotion-filled tale.

In “Tears and Trombones,” author
Robin Surface
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Engaging and emotional story ... I enjoyed this story, but thought the first section would've worked better at the end. The reader didn't have an emotional investment in the characters and it was hard to understand his reaction to his dying father at the start of the book. Had that been at the end, it would've been completely understood. (I also would've liked to know what happened with his mother, which may have been included at the beginning, but if it was I didn't remember it by the end of ...more
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tears and Trombones by Nanci Lee Woody it is the story of a young man that wants to be a classical musician and all the troubles that he has to jump and all the deceptions he passes by to become what he wanted to be, against his alcoholic father, with the support of a helpless mother and with the love of a wife that supports him but with whom he is not in loved, because he is still carrying the karma of the beautiful girl of his dreams during high school days.
Suddenly I was surprised because the
Rachel Horon
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Tears and Trombones is a book that speaks a lot of the sacrifice and hardship when your dream is so much different than what most people expect. Joey wants to be a musician when he grows up, but that kind of lifestyle is so foreign to his father who thinks of nothing much beyond construction, drinking, and maintaining control of what he knows best. Unfortunately his control is abusive. Even though Joey's mother has come to accept her life that doesn't seem to change, she nurtures her son's love ...more
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tears and Trombones give you a musical travel through his reading. It is a beautifully written book about the challenges and rigorous training that a musical career takes and the sacrifices needed to achieve greatness.
Set during the Depression period it’s the story of a young boy that has to overcome his father’s opposition and his economic status to become one of the greatest musicians of his time, playing along some of the biggest stars. It’s a story about self-empowerment and sacrifice but
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Tears and Trombones: Based on a True Story is a novel by Nanci Lee Woody that just might pull at your heartstrings. The protagonist Joey wants to pursue his dream of becoming a classical musician. Along the way to this dream are many hardships, not the least of which is his own hard drinking. A story that is filled with complex characterizations and other elements of love, friendship and adversity, this novel covers a lot of bases and will keep the reader engaged until the end. Set during the ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
In Tears and Trombones we are taken back to World War II era as we follow the story of Joey. We watch him grow up and face many obstacles in his life as we all do. While his dad, a hard working man, is not so keen on his passion to become a musician, his mother is an avid supporter of her son.

We follow Joey to his adult years while he has to make sacrifices to follow his dreams. It reminds us that in this life, if we want something bad enough we have to be willing to make some sacrifices and
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure, fiction
The famous Depression Era stories (Grapes of Wrath, Great Gatsby, etc) all focus on what the fictional escape from poverty (or societal pressures) would be or look like. I have to say, Tears and Trombones deserves its place on this list. It is said to be hard to use music as a theme for novels, but Nanci Woody, you have done it. Congrats!
Gia McNutt
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book - I read it cover to cover on a flight from Chicago to Sacramento. I cried multiple times, seriously identified with Joey (even his troubled stomach!), and his story stayed with me for days (haunted me!).
Marie (UK)
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a reasonably well written and presented novel based on a true story. A trombonists rise to fame despite his family life. A bit disappointed that the ending did not revisit the beginning but for KU a good book
Lauren Simpson
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Good book!

I enjoyed the plot of the book and the characters but didn’t like the violence or the language used in the book.
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Joey's marriage 1 2 Aug 25, 2015 11:19AM  

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In May of 2015, TEARS AND TROMBONES won an Independent Publishers bronze medal (IPPY) for BEST FICTION IN THE WESTERN REGION. Nanci went to New York City to receive the award.

Nanci Lee Woody, ostensibly retired (from college teaching and administrating), writes all the time - poetry, song lyrics, short stories, and a novel. She can't help it because stories and poems happen to her all the time -