Brennan’s debut memoir depicts one man’s journey through war, love and loss.
How do we become who we are? Brennan’s debut memoir looks at the decisions that he feels made him the person he is today, and also shows the values of his family and his old neighborhood. Raised Roman Catholic in Jersey City, N.J., in the 1940s and ’50s, Brennan’s earliest memories are of men in uniform. His father and uncles all served in World War II, and during that time, he and his mother lived with his grandmother, prompting a close and lasting extended-family relationship. His father returned home when he was 4, and over the years, they could never quite move past a strained relationship. Brennan compensated with a love for baseball, a sport played in his neighborhood streets as well as in Roosevelt Stadium, a mere 15-minute walk from his home. The author’s passion for the sport carried him through his entire life and helped form his identity. He was also influenced by his time in the Army; he served in Germany just four years after the Berlin Wall was built. His responsibilities mainly consisted of keeping the soldiers in his platoon in line, and his sense of leadership, duty and purpose inspired him to pursue a job in teaching after he returned to America. He also dabbled in acting and singing along the way. The author effectively describes his childhood and adulthood, highlighting moments that he feels helped form him as a person. His recognition of his life’s influences lends texture and meaning to the story, which may compel readers to similarly reflect upon their own lives. Overall, he delivers a gentle tale of how his past helped create his future.
An engaging, reflective memoir.