Heroic Heart—a story about fathers and sons Reviewed By Gordon Osmond of
Gordon Osmond

Reviewer Gordon Osmond : Gordon is a produced and award-winning playwright and author of: So You Think You Know English--A Guide to English for Those Who Think They Don't Need One, Wet Firecrackers--The Unauthorized Autobiography of Gordon Osmond and his debut novel Slipping on Stardust.

He has reviewed books and stageplays for and for the Bertha Klausner International Literary Agency. He is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School and practiced law on Wall Street for many years before concentrating on writing fiction and non-fiction. You can find out more about Gordon by clicking HERE

Gordon can also be heard on the Electic Authors Showcase.

By Gordon Osmond
Published on January 15, 2014

Author:Russ Woody

Publisher: NY Creative Publishing


Author:Russ Woody

Publisher: NY Creative Publishing


Before reaching the Table of Contents, readers of Heroic Heart—a story about fathers and sons know that they are in the hands of a skilled, sensitive, and incredibly imaginative writer that has a significant and highly moving story to tell. Nothing that follows does anything but fulfill this promise.

Russ Woody’s memoir, though centered on the deterioration and eventual death of his father, is much more gloriously about life and the joys, challenges, and despairs that inhabit it.

The author’s harrowing account of his father’s fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease, succinctly described as the flip side of Alzheimer’s, catalyzes an outpouring of remembrances, observations, and emotional responses that are presented with a miraculous blend of sadness, regret, anger, irony, and, yes, humor, all of which give the book a badge of literary quality making it genuinely thrilling to read.

As I read the book, I started to make a note of a particularly exciting simile, metaphor, alliteration, or lyrical turn of phrase. The text is so extravagantly endowed with these literary delights that I eventually gave up. Suffice it to say that the author’s linguistic imagination is spread luxuriously throughout the pages of the book.

One of the book’s major assets is the author’s ability to recount a rather mundane event and, through the exquisite use of language, make it indelible and significant.

Although love is at the center of this remarkable memoir by a genuinely wonderful son and father, the author is not above delivering a barb or two to deserving targets, e.g., Cybill Shepherd, Shirley MacLaine, some medical professionals, and, more seriously, his mother and sister-in-law. These add admirable balance, spice, and texture to the story.

And speaking of spice, the reader is endlessly fascinated by “Woody,” the very salty dying father whose robust vocabulary peppers the tale, even when mechanically delivered by means of a speaking machine.

Aficionados of backstage insights into the making of television comedies will be well rewarded by the author’s droll recounting of how Woody brought out the very best in a population not universally acknowledged for its selfless humanity.

It’s interesting to note that one of the book’s chapters bears the same title as Charles Krauthammer’s New York Times #1 best seller. This is probably not a source of joy for the author, whose liberal orientation is manifest in various places throughout the book. Also, I wondered a bit about the cover picture of a father with a solitary son, considering that both the author and his father had two.

Reader warning: there are passages in this fabulous memoir that will produce tears from even the most jaded and hardened heart.

As I approach an age when many contemporaries are facing the challenges described in this book, I look upon Heroic Heart as a comforting and inspirational resource to be shared and treasured.

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