Natalie's Reviews > Turn Left At The Trojan Horse: A Would-Be Hero's American Odyssey

Turn Left At The Trojan Horse by Brad Herzog
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's review
Apr 02, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: memoir, philosophy-ideas, north-america
Read from October 06, 2010 to January 27, 2011

I would read anything Brad Herzog writes, but this was a special read I savored a little bit at a time from the summer of one year into the winter of the next.

I love Brad Herzog's self-deprecating style and his ability to wander the world meeting people and starting the conversations that writers must if they are to write the story of where they've been and who they've met, instead of the story of why things aren't working out the way they imagined!

If Eat, Pray, Love bugged you, if you've ever glanced at a sign that said Nowheresville Pop. 320 and wondered who lived there, this book is for you.

If you ever wondered how like Elizabeth Gilbert and Brad Herzog you were ever going to go anywhere and experience that "Ah-Ha" moment, look no further than Constance Starr, an American mother of eight who went to Japan to study with Shinichi Suzuki. She is rumored to have spent months with him learning how to use his method to teach young musicians how to play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star .

Can you imagine that conversation?

"Yes, Dear".
'I'd like to go to Japan for a few months to play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star with Shinichi Suzuki, would that be okay?'
Sound of violin making V E R Y crazy noises
'You heard me, 'I'd like to go to Japan for a few months to play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star'
"Hmm. I guess you've got your heart set on this?"
'Yes, it is something I MUST do!'
"Maybe we should all go?"
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Quotes Natalie Liked

Brad Herzog
“As we age we begin to grasp at youthful bliss like a life raft in a sea of harsh reality.”
Brad Herzog, Turn Left At The Trojan Horse: A Would-Be Hero's American Odyssey

Brad Herzog
“I asked my Greek chorus about this sort of hero: the Underappreciated Personification of Resolve.”
Brad Herzog, Turn Left At The Trojan Horse: A Would-Be Hero's American Odyssey

Brad Herzog
“If, as has been postulated before, heroism happens when courage meets circumstance, what if the circumstances are mundane?”
Brad Herzog, Turn Left At The Trojan Horse: A Would-Be Hero's American Odyssey

Brad Herzog
“Perhaps elements like tenacity and humility combine to form a heroic compound.”
Brad Herzog, Turn Left At The Trojan Horse: A Would-Be Hero's American Odyssey

Reading Progress

11/12/2010 page 43
13.0% "This book was lost again and now found! I have taken it all over the place and savor it in small sips. The author's blog post yesterday about true veteran heroes paid genuine homage to the great generation at their greatest. I've vowed to read more Herzog today!"
11/19/2010 page 69
22.0% "because martin would want me to note that special progress marker!"
11/23/2010 page 64
20.0% "I am reminded of how John Steinbeck once described Montana --that it looks like how a small boy would picture Texas . . ."
11/23/2010 page 67
21.0% ""I have always suspected that wehn people adore their cat or dog, it is less about the animal being lovable than about the person longing for unconditional affection."
11/23/2010 page 80
25.0% "On hobo dan, "They're tearing up my garden, and I figured I oughta start farming the fucking gophers. I couldn't come up with anything . . ." When I got out of prison I ruined one of the hids. "The only thing left was the damn feet. So I made a pair of earrings out of the feet . . . I sold 9,000 pairs of them. ""
11/23/2010 page 156
49.0% "From Sheriff Dean "People seem pretty pleased with me, but that can change in a heartbeat. Something else can happen, and tomorrow I might be a bum"."

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Natalie I left this behind on Thurs and thought I'd forgotten it on a chicken coop in a field after I'd travelled 3 hrs away. The very idea made me frantic. Thankfully I found it amdist my paints in my little studio when I returned home a few days later. What a relief because I didn't want to wait to get a new copy before I continued reading!

message 2: by JayeL (new) - added it

JayeL A CHICKEN COOP??? Life is REALLY different for you these days!

This sounds like a great book. Have you read Bill Bryson? How do they compare? Do they compare at all?

Natalie Yes, chicken coops, and woodstoves, and shoveling out and many other joys of rural living are mine!

Leia and I joked one day in the Fall that when we hear gunshots in the morning now our heartbeats don't race, we don't wonder if we should call 911, after all, it's duck season! In case you are wondering the extent to which that season can overtake normal life around here, look no further than this Drop Dead Sexy, Call Rudy bulletin board post I saw in Indiana Steve's Outdoor Store:

No guy, no thong, no waxed chest, just dead ducks!

Natalie And, I haven't read much Bill Bryson, so I can't directly compare his work with Brad Herzog's, but what Herzog does that is part of his signature style is respectfully and directly reporting on the circumstances of the people he meets.

He lets people's stories speak for themselves without much embellishment and he seems to structure the narrative of his journeys around philosophical themes that allow him to explore the human circumstance by interviewing everyday people.

Many of the stories he relates are admirable, poignant, and exemplary tales of making the best of things or doing your best in difficult situations.

Others touch on what happens when things go wrong for people and life doesn't just halt in its tracks. The human story rarely concludes with a simple tragic moment, people have to live on past getting out of jail, getting divorced, losing their houses, their spouses, their jobs. Herzog doesn't shy away from communities and people with that kind of story either!

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