Sunday Review: Broken Horses by Brandi Carlile

Because I am a novelist, I tend to read mostly fiction. However, my husband and I are also big Brandi Carlile fans, so when I heard that she had written a memoir, I immediately put myself on the wait list to get the audiobook from our library. A friend told me that the audiobook version is the best one for this memoir because the author narrates it herself and sings at the end of chapters. Sometimes more than one song.

Carlile is the oldest of three siblings born to young parents; she grew up in Washington State, moving from house to house and changing schools constantly. Her family was loving but dysfunctional. As Carlile herself writes, she experienced several brutal things in her childhood—but she experienced inexplicable miracles too. She has a strong streak of mysticism that permeates the book.

During her formative years, she dealt with several important identity issues. She idolized Elton John and wanted to become a star singer, but the singing contests available to her awarded only the big-haired, prettily dressed girls embodying the traditional femininity typical of country music of the time. As someone gradually growing aware of being a lesbian, Carlile had little interest in that type of conformity. She developed a deep belief in God, but when she tried to make a public profession of her faith, she was humiliated by a Baptist minister who couldn’t accept LGBTQ christians. The book also chronicles the course of her career and her journey toward finding a happy, fulfilling family life.

It’s an incredible story, one that will be appreciate by any fan of her music and also people who are interested in LGBTQ memoirs.

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Filed under Book Reviews, memoir

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