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Crazy Heart

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  831 ratings  ·  147 reviews

At the age of fifty-seven, Bad Blake is on his last legs. His weight, his ticker, his liver, even his pick-up truck are all giving him trouble. A renowned songwriter and "picker" who hasn't recorded in five years, Bad now travels the countryside on gigs that take him mostly to motels and bowling alleys. Enter Ms. Right. Can Bad stop living the life of a country-western so

Hardcover, 248 pages
Published December 31st 1987 by HarperCollins Publishers
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3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  831 ratings  ·  147 reviews

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Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I realized the other day that despite having loved the movie and actually owning a copy of the book, I'd never read it. So I did. It's wonderfully written, and fascinating in its depiction of the world of country music. BUT SO SAD.
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hadn't really planned on reading this when I did. Yes, Thomas Cobb's novel was on my seemingly endless 'to be read' list as soon as I saw the "based on a novel by..." in the credits rolling at the end of the terrific film adaptation, but I don't own a copy. I chanced upon it when browsing the audiobook shelves in my local library and, noticing that it was narrated by the author, thought it would make an excellent accompaniment to the rush hour commute. (I guess that Jeff Bridges wasn't availab ...more
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was an excellent novel for being the author's first attempt at the medium. A good chunk of it was translated directly to the film, though there are several key differences that change the book enough from the movie that one wants to keep reading each new chapter because, despite having a vague idea of where the thing will end up (and the end, as is often the case, is quite a bit different from the movie), there are still plenty of surprises, including a lot more back story (told in the form ...more
Elaine Lawson
Feb 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Hot damn that was unexpected! For I think the first time, I am uncertain whether I like the book or the movie better....

I was interested in reading this because I saw the movie when it came out, then realized it was based on a book. I always like to read the book a movie is based on because the narration gives us so much more information that the visual representation. This was true with Crazy Heart also, but what I was not expecting was the surprise ending. The movie had had a good ending also.
Ramzzi Fariñas
Thomas Cobb’s first novel, Crazy Heart, is a beautiful irony that both celebrates the rise and fall (or vice versa perhaps) of a country musician’s life through a realistic but reckless portrayal of the modern American West.

Its film adaptation with the same title was one of the films which had given me hope back then. Arriving in Manila in 2015, I began hunting the best reads in various Book Sale branches—and I found and bought the novel for Php 90—less than $2 only. Only that time I realized I
Feb 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-review
Crazy Heart by Thomas Cobb is about this washed up country singer named 'Bad' Blake. Bad Blake has been on the road doing concerts in bowling alleys and bars, while on the road he finds romance.Unfortunately, he also has some vices to deal with.
Read the rest of my review here
Jenna Blum
Mar 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may be a first novel, but MAN can this guy write. Bad Blake is like a character from a McMurtry novel. Highest praise.
Lindsay Underwood
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Slow start but I couldn't put it down for the last 100 pages. Loved and hated Bad Blake. Really the perfect character.
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a character study of an aging, washed-up country music singer who is playing out the string and trying to find a way back to his previous star status. The boozing and womanizing are a bit of a cliche but it’s a great character portrayal and a good story just the same. This 1987 book inspired a 2009 film by the same name; the movie Is more romanticized with the book having a harder edge and, in my opinion, a more realistic finish. The characters and the words drip with the smell of Jack D ...more
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
the writing is wonderful, the characters have a distinct voice. it's kinda sad and kinda hopeless, though. I'm glad I read it but I'm probably not gonna read it again.
Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
For language and sexual content, I would mostly only recommend this to adults. I think after that, it's got a very specific type of person who will like it. I think thos book is for those that like country music, extra sympathetic or empathetic people, those that have ever had alcohol problems. I also think that it will be appreciated by those that know how to appreciate good, honest writing.

What I Have to Say:
Crazy Heart is, essentially, the story of the downfall of the one-time famous country
Bonnie E.
Bad Blake is an unforgettable character, an alcoholic, broken down, crusty country singer totally on the downswing. He's had some successes in life but mainly, he's struggled. He has attempted redemption many, many times over the years, but he keeps failing to turn his life around. He's sympathetic but most of the time, you just want to kick his ass for being such a predictable and grizzled old lout.

There are interesting dynamics between him and his former protege Tommy Sweet which is a focal p
Aug 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'm interested to view the movie after reading this book. In my opinion, this novel is no masterpiece. I liked the country and western element. I thought the voice of Bad was a geniune portrayal of a rough-cut country man, but the book had no real plot. So, there was this washed-up, has been country singer.......And? I mean, basically the book details his shitty alcoholic behavior. I have read that before.

The ending was.......drab. I don't know. I didn't hate it, I finished, so that is where I
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: delightful
Crazy Heart, based on the novel by Thomas Cobb

A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:

- and

Crazy Heart is an acclaimed film.
It won two Academy Awards, including one for:

- Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, for Jeff Bridges.

A Golden Globe rewarded the same actor.

Indeed, Jeff Bridges, or Jeffrey Leon Bridges comes from a family of actors:
Son of Lloyd Bridges and brother of Beau B
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure "Crazy Heart" is an honest-to-god masterpiece, but it's pretty close. Cobb beautifully captures the feel of an old country western song. "Crazy Heart" is a tragedy that sneaks up on the reader and lingers. The tragedy's main actor is Bad Blake, a thoroughly likable former country star, now touring bars and bowling alleys when he's not at home in Houston playing with his bar band. He's the quintessential picture of fading glory. Bad's been married and divorced multiple times, he's ma ...more
Angie Fehl
Fifty-seven year old "Bad Blake" is a country-western singer / songwriter in the twilight of his career. His body is beginning to give out from years of wild living and hard drinking. There's also the matter of his estranged, now grown son whom he hasn't seen since the guy was a little one of four. Put it all together and Blake has a life chock full of regrets he's usually trying to play down.

Blake hasn't released any new music in five years. Instead, his manager has him on a small peanuts tour
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book isn't bad (no pun intended, I guess). I dropped one star for the shoe-horned in pro-abortion, pro-pornography speech, and maybe half a star because of all the name-dropping that makes it sound like the author skimmed through something like a "Country Music for Dummies" and just put in all the references he thought he was supposed to. Bad wears a 4x Stetson, at one point owns some Justin boots, and refers to Chet Atkins, Roy Acuff and Lefty Frizzell. Tick those boxes, boy. At the end of ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Better than the movie version, which I saw first, about three years ago. The novel provides a far more gritty, in-depth, revealing glimpse into the life and times of an aging alcoholic Country singer named Bad Blake. Who's best times are decidedly behind him.
The book begins very well. Lots of cool insights to life on the road. Thomas Cobb is a skilled writer with obvious experience in the music biz. His writing is lean and flows well. Almost stream of consciousness style. I'd definitely read an
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. I loved the way I found myself in those smokey, smelly dives he played in and just as easily on the big stage. I loved the way I could hear the music and feel the thrill of those wild rides up and down the fret board. I loved the way I could sympathize with Bad, hate the guy for his selfish choices, and respect him for his generosity all at the same time! It doesn't even make sense, but I loved and hated the old SOB! Brilliantly written book and I will be looking for more Thom ...more
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I loved the country music aspect to this book and the book ended like a country music song would. Mr. Cobb knows his stuff as far as I can see and made for a good entertaining read. The main reason I read this book is because I really want to see the movie and typically, if I think the book may be good, I read it first.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A well written novel about a believable and likeable character who has little real knowledge of his motivations or his defects. Poignant, funny, full of musical know how with hope, anger, regrets and real life bad luck. Alcohol as a devious influence with tangible effects.Bad Blake will stay with me a long time.
Cecily Kyle
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I saw this movie a while back now and it was really good but really depressing. I can imagine that it ends up being the life of a lot of the rich and famous when they start to fade out of popularity. A really well written, beautiful piece of work.
Great Read!
Mick Chorba
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Saw the movie first. I like the ending in the book much better. It’s much more depressing and more realistic.
Roger Wetlaufer
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book is an honest look at the music business. Different ending than the movie and a few more details. I enjoyed it.
Juan Valdivia
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More of a 4.5 stars. I loved this novel. Could say a lot more about it but I'll leave it at that (for now).
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked the movie better, even if the book's downer ending is, I suppose, more realistic? I would rather picture Bad at peace with his life and starting a new one.
Michael Pantelis
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it
slow to start and really disliked the ending - felt like it needed closure.
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Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake 2 14 Sep 22, 2008 11:05AM  

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