Pull up a seat as we dive in to one book each month with the Country Living Front Porch Book Club, capping each month with a chat with the authors themselves. Our November selection is Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson's "Me and Sister Bobbie"!
Perhaps you discovered his music in college, or perhaps it's been with you since childhood, but no matter how you came to know the folksy rhythms and heart-tugging lyrics of the great Willie Nelson, you're sure to remember them.
Music saves Willie and Bobbie from childhood. With parents who come and go from their lives like the seasons, Willie and Bobbie found solace and stability in their relationship with their grandparents, music, and each other. Willie writes, "I was born restless...If I was the sky, Bobbie was the earth. She grounded me." And, he explains, though he's written numerous books, it's the story of life with his sister that he was missing—until now.
Me and Sister Bobbie is the culmination of this desire. Told in alternating chapters, brother and sister weave the story of their childhoods into adulthood, often picking up the very thread upon which the other ends a chapter to keep the story going. The pair gets their start in the small Texas town of Abbott, rooted together through their mutual love of music and the tender guiding presence of their grandparents. While Willie dove head-first into music and pursued it with a passion, Bobbie—immensely talented in her own right—had to contend with the stifling opinions of "women's rightful place" that prevailed at the time.
What unfolds is the story of two journeys, side by side, high joys and deep heartbreaks, as Willie grows as a musician and Bobbie fights her way through a series of challenging relationships. And while Willie's chapters fascinate with tales of the open road and the experiences behind his most well-known songs, it's Bobbie's chapters that tugged at my heart: tales of a mother fighting for her children, struggling against stifling societal norms, and forging her path through love, perseverance, a trademark Texan tenacity, and a strong dose of inimitable positivity and forgiveness.
Spanning close to nine decades, Willie and Bobbie's story is one of the endurance of family and power of music as a beacon of healing—a pitch-perfect read as we head into the season of gratefulness and Thanksgiving. "Despite all we've endured," writes Bobbie, "love, as expressed in music, is the core of everything." As Willie says, they were just a little boy and a little girl, she in love with a piano and he in love with a guitar. They "triumphed and suffered and survived," and they've shared that journey for the first time in Me and Sister Bobbie, for us to share alongside them.
COUNTRY LIVING FRONT PORCH BOOK CLUB FOR NOVEMBER 2020
Selection: Me and Sister Bobbie by Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson (available via local bookstores, Amazon, or Bookshop)
Start reading with us November 1.
Tune in to the Country Living's Instagram Stories as Willie and Bobbie chat about Me and Sister Bobbie on November 30.
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