The spirited autobiography of the noted gun-control advocate and onetime Republican loyalist.
A good fight, indeed: Brady emerges from these pages as nothing if not a scrapper, unwilling to give in to the raft of bad luck that’s been her lot. First, of course, there was the shooting of her husband Jim, brain-damaged and confined to a wheelchair, thanks to would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley. Second was the slow discovery that their young son Scott suffered from sensory integration problems, which made him “something of a handful, to put it mildly.” Third, and one of the most affecting moments of Brady’s narrative, was her long and ongoing battle against lung cancer, brought on, she admits, by years of smoking and a once-insurmountable addiction to tobacco. Chapter by chapter, she meets all these tests head-on, writing of her work in agitating for national gun-control legislation, in helping Scott and Jim go about the difficult business of daily life, and of wrestling with her own doubts and shortcomings. Her mood is largely cheerful and even homey (“We always have beef for Christmas dinner”), though she fires off a few zingers here and there (“Charlton Heston, who later would become my chief adversary . . . struck me—I remember it vividly—as a pompous ass”). Brady tends toward platitude, confining her reflections on matters such as the Hinckley attempt to easily digested morsels: “God only knows what demons drove him to do what he did.” But that’s beside the point, and by the end, all but the most cynical reader will be rooting for Brady—and, likely, for the causes she espouses.
Self-aware and committed, Brady offers an extended pep talk for women facing crises of their own, as well as a personal memoir—and it works on both levels.