Item description for Escape from Fred (Center Point Premier Fiction (Large Print)) by Brad Whittington...
New from 2004 Christy Award-winning author Brad Whittington.
Mark Cloud ("the enormously appealing, literate, self-deprecating young hero," says Publishers Weekly) escapes Fred, Texas, to relish the anonymity of college in the final book of this widely adored fiction series about a restless preacher's kid in the 1970s. But the proverbial time of his life skips a beat when a series of catastrophes leads him back home and then on a soul-searching road trip through America's heartland where his deepest questions have surprising answers.
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Format: Large Print
Studio: Center Point Large Print
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.74" Width: 6.2" Height: 0.97" Weight: 1.08 lbs.
Binding Library Binding
Release Date Apr 1, 2006
Publisher Center Point Large Print
ISBN 158547729X ISBN13 9781585477296
Availability 0 units.
More About Brad Whittington
Brad Whittington was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on James Taylor's eighth birthday and Jack Kerouac's thirty-fourth birthday and is old enough to know better. He lives in Austin, Texas with The Woman. He is greatly loved and admired by all right-thinking citizens and enjoys a complete absence of cats and dogs at home.
Reviews - What do customers think about Escape from Fred (Center Point Premier Fiction (Large Print))?
a boy named Phyllis Oct 14, 2008
They say that if you go to bed and aren't asleep in 30 minutes, you should go to another room and read for about 20 minutes. I would like to revise that advice by appending, "but not Brad Whittington". Whittington is the literary equivalent of potato chips -- you can't just read for 20 minutes. I started reading this on a sleepless Saturday night. I didn't nod off at church the next morning, but it was close.
"Escape from Fred" continues (and I'm crossing my fingers that it's not "concludes") the story of Mark Cloud, a Texas preacher's kid whose story starts in Welcome to Fred: A Novel and continues in Living With Fred. Having survived high school in the thriving metropolis of Fred, Texas, Mark goes on to college in this third book, which takes place in the mid-70s.
The first half of the book explores Mark's early college life, while the second half gets more personal. Not that there aren't personal elements in the first half; just that the second half dives deeper.
All three Fred books start with a present-day Mark reflecting on the life of his recently-deceased father. In this book, Mark finds a journal entry that his father made with his own definition of faith:
*** the determination to believe that which resonates in the soul, particularly when it ceases to resonate
Throughout the entire book (and to some extent, the entire series), Mark struggles to make his faith his own, not just something that he inherits from his pastor father. And Whittington goes deeper into what that means, the rubber hitting the road hard, in the second half of this book as Mark's faith is tried in ways he never dreamed.
To be honest, this stuff is occasionally raw. Not "Eddie Murphy" raw, but "filet of soul" raw (pun very much intended). Having recently been through some circumstances that have tried my faith like Mark's, I have to say that I identified very well with him. And Whittington's writing reveals that either he is the most perceptive man on the planet, or he's encountered this kind of trial himself. I am often reminded lately of Peter's words:
*** Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
Not only are we not alone, but this is normal. (Which -- apart from God -- is a terrifying thought.)
Ya know what, though? Mark blows it. And so did I. This is where the identification really hit home.
I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say that Mark eventually gets his head on straight. Not in a "... and they all lived happily ever after" kind of way; but in a real way, turning a corner, finding God there, and realizing that He was there the whole time. It's the beginning of a new phase in the journey, and at least Mark is headed in the right direction (and hopefully I am, too).
At the end of the day, this is a story. And it is quite entertaining, particularly looking back at fond and goofy memories of early college life, including the eponymous (at least to this review) "boy named Phyllis" (and you thought Johnny Cash's "Sue" had it bad). But if you come away from Escape from Fred *only* entertained, I'd worry.
magnificent & delicious Dec 19, 2006
"Passion." "Honesty." "Truth" with a capital "T". These are what I found in "Escape from Fred". I was looking for entertainment and I found transcendence.
When I picked it up off my dad's bookshelf, I was just looking for a pleasant story to while away a winter afternoon. What I left with, after reading it through cover-to-cover, was something unforgettable and real. If "Escape from Fred" is not nominated for some sort of major award, then there is no justice in the literary world.
In the person of Mark Cloud, Brad Whittington has created a character of depth, passion and honesty. Anyone who has struggled with issues of faith and loss will recognize the confusing mixture of hope and fear that Mark struggles through. But Mark is darned likable, too. You will genuinely care about Mark, and will, (unless you are some sort of zombie), see a little of yourself in him.
The book succeeds on several levels:
As sheer story, it is very entertaining. I literally could not put it down.
As literature, Whittington hits a homerun where few authors even dare to come to the plate. He captures the essence of what it feels like to be truly human, with all our jumbled experiences of love and loss, hope and despair, faith and doubt, but he never allows the story to become maudlin or preachy. An impressive feat, indeed.
In other words, "Escape from Fred" pulses with raw honesty, real emotion and believable "answers", (if answers can be found).
Recommended with passion and without reservation.
Farewell to Fred Oct 16, 2006
This final chapter in the "Fred trilogy" brings our hero, preacher's kid Mark Cloud, full circle and all grown up. Having graduated from high school in the last book, Mark is ready to get to college and start over - escaping Fred, Texas, and all that's associated with it, including his identity as a PK (preacher's kid).
Things don't turn out quite the way he plans, however. While he initially finds fun, friendship, and even romance at college, his own mistakes and those of others soon destroy his carefully-constructed "new life." When another tragedy strikes back at Fred itself, Mark makes another escape, leaving everything behind and setting out on a road trip of self-discovery.
Through it all, Whittington carefully weaves in intriguing historical references from the 70s and earlier. The Beat Generation and their writings play a major role this time around, and the early growth of the Nation of Islam even plays a part. None of it feels forced, although at this point, alas, the similarities between my own upbringing here in Texas and Mark Cloud's come virtually to an end. I never did hardly any of the things he does in this book (though I did think about a few of them...). However, I feel I must say this, Mr. Whittington: Mark's new friend at college? The Captain? I knew that guy. Only he went to a different college and a different year. He has to be the same, though. No one else could talk quite like that...
The humor and spiritual questing as vital elements are unchanged from the previous two books, picking up on past threads and carrying them to satisfying conclusions (Jolene's wedding, for instance...). This whole trilogy is one of those excellent stories that demands multiple readings. In fact, it's ideal for reading aloud to a loved one.
There's not much more I can say than I've already said on the previous two books. If your tastes in reading ordinarily don't approach this kind of story, you're seriously missing out. Highly Recommended.
Escape To Fred... Oct 7, 2006
Without the benefit of reading the entire series, I found much to like in Mr. Whittington's Fred.
I will be reading more of Mr. Whittington's books. In Escape, he stages the struggle of father's faith vs. son's beliefs a wrestling match worthy of a front row seat.
An excellent, entertaining read. Laugh out loud funny in spots, achingly painful in others.
If you struggle with faith issues, or with understanding why painful things happen to nice people, this work of fiction may very well be a soothing escape.
A Grand Finale Aug 6, 2006
Book three of the Fred trilogy. Mark Cloud escapes from Fred to enter college. He hangs out with the wrong crowd, though. Lots of shenanigans ensue - very funny scenes. Hysterical dialogue throughout. Events seem to conspire against him and he eventually takes to the road, hitchhiking, to see parts of the country and to get away from it all. Meets totally believable but wildly unique and even dangerous characters. Discovers himself along the way. Eventually finds redemption. This book has it all. It's a solid conclusion to an insightful, wildly funny series. Seriously, what more could you ask for?