I remember clutching the magazine so tightly in the back seat of my mother’s car in Wethersfield, Conn., a “straight and narrow” town so close to New York City, but painstakingly so far away. Ellen DeGeneres was having a loud and proud day. “Yep, I’m Gay” the TIME magazine cover shouted. It was April 14, 1997, and it was very loud – in the way that a magazine cover can be so noisy without actually saying a damn word.
Truth be told, I was almost 15 years old and about to embark on my own journey of self so any rumbling of unified truth in a gay direction made me uncomfortable at best. Still, it was a moment and I knew that reading the article would somehow change my life forever.
That feeling of being on the precipice of a moment was the same instinctual way I felt about Brandi Carlile’s memoir Broken Horses as I turned the pages. The six-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter and producer put pen to paper in a way only she could color to share her undeniable truths – opening the door for thousands, if not millions, of her fans to do the same. Like Ellen’s moment, Brandi’s would break through place and time to capture the heart of what mattered most. It was her time – and she was claiming it.
The #1 New York Times Bestseller begins by taking a deep dive into a childhood mixed with generational musical talent, grit, determination, and structure-less abandon that eventually becomes the crux of her future foundation. Brandi’s highs (and her lows) are gently uncovered with a bias for truth at every turn. Relateable elements of her tale are found in the familial struggles she shares throughout the 336 pages – as well as the successes she claims along the way.
Going on this editorial ride through Brandi’s eyes has the potential to define a generation. Readers embark on a journey through the lens of a survivor who inherited nothing, but gained everything in the process. A rags to riches un-fairytale where love and loss are dusted off without (much) blame and maybe even a little humor. In some ways, her story reads as a typical lesbian stereotype (fishing, love triangles, rock ballads, and family planning), but in others – it’s a tale anyone can relate to regardless of acronym.
Oh, the fame part? That’s in there, too, but that’s never the reason to purchase a journey in between the covers of a memoir. It’s the human story that counts most. Brandi brings it home in Broken Horses.