I picked up Broken Horses by Brandi Carlile despite having listened to very little of her music. The book came recommended by some of my recent favorite writers. I also liked listening to what she had to say on Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach’s We Can Do Hard Things Podcast, which you should check out if you haven’t already.
Carlile writes candidly about her struggles growing up in the Pacific Northwest in a family that was involved in the local music scene. Her family moved a lot and during that time she found herself attached to two different horses, broken in their own ways. Those horses would play an important role in the artist’s life, teaching her that the word ‘broken’ can mean a lot of different things.
Carlile also writes about motherhood. When she and her wife decided to do in vitro to conceive, Carlile felt some reservations about not carrying their children. She writes about feeling somehow like less of a mother at first and how society defines what a mother is.
Carlile merges life as a touring musician with parenthood. She and her bandmates frequently bring their entire families on the road with numerous young children taking over the tour busses. These anecdotes were some of my favorite parts of the book.
Despite being a Grammy winner, she is still awestruck by her heroes Joni Mitchell, Tanya Tucker, and Elton John. I enjoyed the print version of this book very much, but I hear the audio version is even better because Carlile narrates it and sings some of her songs throughout the narration. Now I’m onto exploring more of her music.