Tears and Trombones – Book Review

Chasing a dream against the odds

Book Review

A trombone player

Tears and Trombones: Based on a True Story
by Nanci Lee Woody

Tears and Trombones: Based on a True Story follows the life journey of Joey Woodman, the “fruit-picking boy who could not possibly afford to go to a concert”. Written by Nanci Lee Woody and set during the Depression Era, this book is full of emotions, struggles, conflicts, and determination. 

It all started with Maurice, the boy who bragged about going to a symphony concert. Challenged by what the braggart boy told him, Joey pleaded with his mom that they go to the concert even if he hadn’t the slightest idea of what the show is all about. At the concert, Joey could only recognize the violin among the many instruments. But as soon as the musicians started playing, he almost instantly fell in love with the music. 

Since that experience at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, Joey is enamored with classical music and his dream of becoming a musician starts taking shape. He’s particularly interested in playing the trombone.

Everything does not come easy for the then nine-year-old boy, though. His alcoholic father hates his pursuing a career in music. One reason for which is there’s not much money to earn from being a musician and the family’s economic status is just getting by. To make things difficult for Joey, his father ridicules, humiliates, and even treats him with cruelty. He inflicts both physical and emotional pain not only on Joey but also including those that have something to do with him like his pets and farm animals. Despite all the hurdles, Joey persists with even more determination in pursuing a career in music. He studies and works hard through college, gets a degree, and eventually gets to perform with celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, and The Beach Boys, among others. Most importantly, he becomes one of the best trombonists of his time. All throughout his life, Joey has only his mother to give him moral support, aside from his best friend, Roger.

Other important parts of his life journey are his falling in love with a schoolmate in high school, and his being indebted to a girl who loves him. How he handles these two issues is for the reader to find out. I cannot give spoilers in this review.

Click on the image to buy. Available at Amazon.

Nevertheless, I commend Nanci Lee Woody for producing Tears and Trombone: Based on a True Story. It’s very well written and effectively elicits varied emotions.  I must admit, I cried over some parts of the story. Although this book is her first fiction, the author shows proficiency in this work. She must be ranked as a Novelist. I read somewhere else that this book is about the author’s husband, Gil Woody.

It’s no wonder this novel won an Independent Publishers medal for “Best Fiction in the Western Pacific Region” and two medals from Readers’ Favorites in the Literary Fiction and the YA “Coming of Age” categories.  

However, I found a handful of technical errors in this book. Although it may seem negligible, it’s worth pointing them out for the succeeding reproduction to correct and polish. 

Overall. I give Tears and Trombone: Based on a True Story a rating of 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to readers of all age groups. It’s all worth your money and time. From this book, you may learn the essence of perseverance and patience, among other virtues.

3 Replies to “Tears and Trombones – Book Review”

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