Keith's Reviews > So Brave, Young and Handsome
So Brave, Young and Handsome
by Leif Enger
by Leif Enger
May 13, 2011
This is a man’s book; not that women wouldn’t enjoy it and gain insight from it but more importantly it allows men to gain insight into themselves. It’s a novel about men and what motivates them; well some of us at least. It’s also a story about fate and how it crosses the threshold each day and then insists that we each make decisions about its direction and be responsible for the outcome. Men don’t make friends in the same way as women and their stake in the relationship is something most women just don’t understand and most men can’t explain because they don’t understand it either. In 1915 Minnesota, Monte Becket feels he has become a disappointment to himself as well as his wife and young son. Monte, a former postal employee, lives a comfortable life in a small house on the river Cannon and has gained a certain amount of recognition as the writer of an adventure story about a pony-express rider in the wild-west, although he has never really been there. Now, it seems, he simply has to wait for the next thunderbolt of an idea to hit so that he might continue making a living as an author. Alas, the thunderbolt never strikes and as one of the book’s characters chides: “Why, poor Becket---you got no medicine left…You used it all up in only the one book.” But then Monte meets and befriends a new neighbor on the next farm, one Glendon Hale, a builder of boats who also, as it turns out, is a train robber wanted by the law. So begins a long trek and an adventure that changes the lives of both men. This is a small book that covers some big issues like: loyalty, trust, fear and love of life. The language is sparse and the pacing seems to capture this period like few I’ve ever read. I thought it was a marvelous book and one that I’m sure I’ll read again.
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