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Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life

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A riveting tale of unfathomable success great joy deep pain, and  redemption that can come only from above. From a working-class background in North Carolina to a job as a cook and club singer in Nashville to his "overnight success" with his smash 1986 album Storms of Life--which launched the neotraditional movement in country music--Randy's first three decades are a true rags- A riveting tale of unfathomable success great joy deep pain, and  redemption that can come only from above. From a working-class background in North Carolina to a job as a cook and club singer in Nashville to his "overnight success" with his smash 1986 album Storms of Life--which launched the neotraditional movement in country music--Randy's first three decades are a true rags-to-riches story. But in 2009, this seemingly charmed life began a downward spiral. His marriage dissolved, he discovered that his finances had unraveled, and his struggles with anger led to alcohol abuse, public embarrassment, and even police arrest in 2012. Then, just as he was putting his life back together, Randy suffered a devastating viral cardiomyopathy that led to a massive stroke which he was not expected to survive. Yet he not only survived but also learned to walk again and, in 2016, accepted his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame by singing the hymn that explains his life today: "Amazing Grace." Filled with never-before-told stories, Forever and Ever, Amen is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at dizzying success and the miraculous road to restoration.


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A riveting tale of unfathomable success great joy deep pain, and  redemption that can come only from above. From a working-class background in North Carolina to a job as a cook and club singer in Nashville to his "overnight success" with his smash 1986 album Storms of Life--which launched the neotraditional movement in country music--Randy's first three decades are a true rags- A riveting tale of unfathomable success great joy deep pain, and  redemption that can come only from above. From a working-class background in North Carolina to a job as a cook and club singer in Nashville to his "overnight success" with his smash 1986 album Storms of Life--which launched the neotraditional movement in country music--Randy's first three decades are a true rags-to-riches story. But in 2009, this seemingly charmed life began a downward spiral. His marriage dissolved, he discovered that his finances had unraveled, and his struggles with anger led to alcohol abuse, public embarrassment, and even police arrest in 2012. Then, just as he was putting his life back together, Randy suffered a devastating viral cardiomyopathy that led to a massive stroke which he was not expected to survive. Yet he not only survived but also learned to walk again and, in 2016, accepted his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame by singing the hymn that explains his life today: "Amazing Grace." Filled with never-before-told stories, Forever and Ever, Amen is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at dizzying success and the miraculous road to restoration.

30 review for Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    I’ve been a fan of Randy Travis from way back so I picked up this ARC without hesitation. The story itself was good, easy reading, almost like having Randy Travis sitting in your living room having a fine old talk. This book in its final form will be enjoyed by most any Randy Travis fan who is looking for a good read about him. Or a biography reader who likes country music. The main focus is on his career, but there is some about his growing up years too. It’s also an inspiring story of how he’s I’ve been a fan of Randy Travis from way back so I picked up this ARC without hesitation. The story itself was good, easy reading, almost like having Randy Travis sitting in your living room having a fine old talk. This book in its final form will be enjoyed by most any Randy Travis fan who is looking for a good read about him. Or a biography reader who likes country music. The main focus is on his career, but there is some about his growing up years too. It’s also an inspiring story of how he’s overcome such awful medical issues that he wasn’t expected to survive. My thanks for the advance electronic review copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Randy Travis, and the publisher. My BookZone blog: https://wordpress.com/post/bookblog20...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kat Dietrich

    Forever and Ever, Amen by Randy Travis his autobiography. First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. My Synopsis: (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions) This is the story of Country Music Legend Randy Travis. It is deeply personal, and he tells his tale from his childhood to current day, from his deepest lows to the remarka Forever and Ever, Amen by Randy Travis his autobiography. First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. My Synopsis: (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions) This is the story of Country Music Legend Randy Travis. It is deeply personal, and he tells his tale from his childhood to current day, from his deepest lows to the remarkable heights, from cook to super-star. We hear about his closest friends, and those that betrayed him. We hear about his idols, his concerts and many charity benefits. We hear about his health, his alcohol abuse, car accidents and police records, his brain surgeries, and his stroke. We hear about the long painful rehab and the many set-backs. We hear about his Faith. This is all public knowledge, but this time it is told by the man himself. The book tells his story from the time he is a teenager just starting out, through the devastating massive stroke he suffered, through his triumphant 2016 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, where he walked on stage and sang Amazing Grace. My Opinions: Randy Travis prefaces this autobiography with the message that because of certain circumstances he has had to rely on the recollections of doctors, lawyers, music executives, fellow artists and writers, longtime band members and crew, friends, and family members to present this story as accurately as possible. This doesn’t really matter, as any fan will tell you. It’s Randy Travis. We will read/watch/listen to anything that comes from his mouth or hand. My only "complaint", is that I wish it had a few more details of his actual childhood. I didn’t realize how many lives he touched, how many different artists he performed with, nor how many movies he was in. This book brought back my own memories of his many hits, of the many other legends he was friends with, and their hits. I often took a break to hum a few bars of a song or artist just mentioned. I know I will be looking into my collection and playing some oldies soon. This book is inspiring. Randy Travis died, but came back to live another day. His love of music, his determination, his courage, his faith in God, and with his wife Mary by his side, he has learned to stand, to walk, and is slowly getting back his speech. It was an emotional read, eliciting both laughter and tears in me. Definitely recommend it to any country music lover – traditional or new. For a more complete review of this book and others, please visit my blog: http://katlovesbooksblog.wordpress.com/

  3. 5 out of 5

    Deb Jones

    I knew little about the life of Randy Travis before picking up this book. I've been a fan of his music and his stage persona for some time and knew about the major stroke he suffered some years ago. I found his voice in this book to be authentic and down-to-earth -- and fairer to both friends and foes than many other celebrities have been over the years. The reader learns about Travis' childhood, about those events and people who influenced his life and much about his music career -- from his ear I knew little about the life of Randy Travis before picking up this book. I've been a fan of his music and his stage persona for some time and knew about the major stroke he suffered some years ago. I found his voice in this book to be authentic and down-to-earth -- and fairer to both friends and foes than many other celebrities have been over the years. The reader learns about Travis' childhood, about those events and people who influenced his life and much about his music career -- from his early, struggling years to those of success and beyond. Travis writes candidly about scrapes with the law and then about the life-threatening stroke and rehabilitation afterward. It was a comfortable read throughout, although I read the book, at times I could have sworn I heard the artist speaking the text aloud to me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jypsy

    I have long been a fan of Randy Travis, so I had to read this book. He's had an interesting life indeed. In particular, the major health problems that affected him late in life were unbelievable. By all accounts, he should not have survived. The fact that he did and made a comeback is remarkable and inspiring. Randy Travis has made some fantastic and touching music in his career, and I was glad to learn more about his life. I recommend for anyone who is a fan. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in e I have long been a fan of Randy Travis, so I had to read this book. He's had an interesting life indeed. In particular, the major health problems that affected him late in life were unbelievable. By all accounts, he should not have survived. The fact that he did and made a comeback is remarkable and inspiring. Randy Travis has made some fantastic and touching music in his career, and I was glad to learn more about his life. I recommend for anyone who is a fan. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ash Wilson

    I had seen several interviews with Randy & Mary promoting this book, & I had heard really good things about it, so I went ahead & bought a copy. My main concern of interest going into it was how it was going to be voiced & structured given that Randy has very limited ability to speak & communicate clearly ever since his debilitating stroke in 2013. I had heard the author, Ken Abraham, discuss how he pulled together all these hours of footage of interviews & what not of Randy’s over the years to I had seen several interviews with Randy & Mary promoting this book, & I had heard really good things about it, so I went ahead & bought a copy. My main concern of interest going into it was how it was going to be voiced & structured given that Randy has very limited ability to speak & communicate clearly ever since his debilitating stroke in 2013. I had heard the author, Ken Abraham, discuss how he pulled together all these hours of footage of interviews & what not of Randy’s over the years to try to write in & maintain his voice. & I know Randy’s second wife, Mary, was certainly a huge contributor, & reading through the acknowledgments section at the end of the book, they did seem to interview a lot of people close to Randy along the way to gain their perspectives. There was also a footnote at the very beginning of the book acknowledging how heavily others recollections of the stories within would be relied upon. Yet, I have to say, by the completion of this book, I was still rubbed the wrong way throughout that it was always written as if Randy, himself, were sitting there, telling a ghost writer his life story, yet we know for a fact that that’s an utter impossibility. & I felt that at times, that was definitely noticeable too through different holes or pieces left out of stories that only Randy, himself, could’ve actually filled in. & by the repetitiveness of several pieces of the book too, that didn’t blend with someone sitting down, sharing their life story. I’m not saying in any way that they shouldn’t have still done this book! I know it was well & hard researched, & that Randy certainly seems to approve of it to the extent that he can - what bothered me was the writing structure & voice of making the entire book sound as though each word’s coming out of Randy’s mouth & onto the paper, when we all know that isn’t possible. It could still even have been an autobiography rather than a biography! Pull in pieces of what he has actually said in past interviews & to different people, while also putting in Mary’s point of view on things, or Jeff Davis’ point of view on things, or what not. But don’t make the whole book sound like it came from Randy, when it couldn’t have. That especially bothered me during the end chapters post-stroke. Clearly, he didn’t write or say anything of that time, & we don’t know how he truly feels about any of it. I don’t know. It might seem frivolous & silly to some, but that aspect just really bugged me the whole book through. That being said - Wow. I certainly never realized the truly difficult aspects of Randy’s life & how sad it is to grow up with an alcoholic, abusive, controlling father, just to literally leave the womb & move in with a controlling, abusive woman for the next 30+ years of your life, & once you FINALLY get out & have your own, personal complete & total freedom for pretty much the first time in your entire life & you’re in your 50’s, I think he didn’t even know what to do with it, had his drunken/naked, fall from grace fiasco, & a very short time later, a horrendous illness / hospital stay / stroke, which would deprive him of many personal freedoms & the ability to take care of himself, speak for himself, do what he wants to do, etc for the remainder of his life. He pretty much has never gotten to be his very own person his whole life through. Lib - Oh my goodness. I knew his first marriage wasn’t ordinary, & I realize this is only one side of the story, (Randy, Mary, etc), but I actually felt they were decently generous to her throughout the book considering all she’s stolen from him/them & put him through as really an abusive spouse for what? 30+ years. He still complimented all she did for his career & to get him started in the business early on. But even still, wowza! She’s 18 years older than Randy. They met when he was 16 years old. She took legal custody of him WITH her then-husband Frank, by the way, when he was a minor so he could move to Charlotte. They were cheating on her husband sleeping together when Randy was 17. Ended up getting married & actually staying together for 33 years from the time he was 17 to 51 UNTIL she finally got bored of him & his career, & then started using all of his money & notoriety to make her new project, a young, impressionable, Irish singer named Eamonn, (who she was also sleeping with having an affair even though he was in his 20’s & she was in her late 60’s by this point), a star. If that’s not the ultimate cougar story, then I don’t know what possibly could be! Also, as a side note, finding out the whole Eamonn/Lib story & how she forced his duet with Randy, “Someone You Never Knew”, (a quite evilly ironic song), onto the 25th anniversary album, really bummed me out because I used to love that song, & now it’s so creepy, I don’t even know if I can stand listening to it. Their entire marriage she controlled Randy like crazy & she’d done it so meticulously for so long, that he didn’t even really notice it much at the time & just allowed it. She controlled what he ate, wore, did. She didn’t allow him to have any friends or go out & do anything with anybody but her. She made up fake allergies he never even had so he’d only eat the perfectly healthy food she picked out for him. She fed him lie after lie about people & situations. And it just gets so sad when you get to the end of the book & learn all that she stole from him, lied to him about, & used him for legally & otherwise for so many years. She cleaned him out & literally left him nothing. His voice wasn’t even insured. She was his manager forever, & in the end, after all of it, she only did what benefited her & she flat out stole everything that was rightfully his. Someone quoted in the book said something like, she made Elvis’s manager, Tom Parker look tame... THAT’s saying something. Even after the stroke - what she did at the disposition with the lawyers, playing the video of his naked/drunken/rambling arrest just to humiliate him? I don’t know. I think hell has a special place for people that low down there anyways. NOT that I condone anything from his infamous arrest though! Even though I forgive and understand his side of the massive mistake much more clearly now, & he did tell a truly touching story of a firefighter on duty who had spoken to him that night, & wrote him a beautiful letter years later encouraging his faith & saying that he’s “still a fan.” & I AM sorry that he lost the court battle to respect his privacy & keep the video from being released publicly - but it still has always definitely been difficult for me to forgive him for the vilely wicked words he muttered to the police & paramedics doing their job & trying to help him that night, even however inebriated he was. And I felt like he could have been more apologetic specifically to them, for that, & his own actions, then just explaining it all away in the book as basically a religious experience where he learned from his sins & Jesus paid for them or whatever. While I’ve explained what took away from the book for me, I will for sure say this - Reading this book REALLY got me back in touch with loving & adoring the music & voice of Randy Travis again! I’m a child of 90’s country music, & although I have always listened to & loved his hits, I had forgotten how many of his albums I had known every single song on word for word growing up & how much I loved them & still do today. Throughout reading this book, I listened & re-connected to his entire discography, & found a concert dvd of his from the early 2000s that I just cannot stop watching. So even only liking & not loving this book, I do love & appreciate it for the simple fact alone that I am fully reconnected with the timeless traditional country music recorded by the classic true country voice, artist, musician, & writer that is, was, & will always be Randy Travis... forever & ever, amennnnn!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This book was so hard to keep reading. Randy Travis was the voice of my childhood and I was so excited to read his life story. The actual story parts were great, I loved learning about his family and how he was discovered. But mixed in with the story was so many weird details about random people places that it was hard to follow the story and keep track of everything. I think the book would have been a lot better if it was more story, less record keeping.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kayo

    An inspirational book about a legendary country singer. Great book!. Thanks to author, publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jules

    Forever and Ever, Amen is a very enjoyable memoir from not only a legendary artist, but a legendary Christian, and legendary human being. Randy Travis opens up about his early rough beginning, his determined rise to fame, his personal tragedies and ultimately his resilience, his perseverance, and reconnection with his faith. Mr. Travis’ trials and tribulations reveal the underlying facets of character that undoubtedly play a huge part in his success in music and in life. We are treated to a fron Forever and Ever, Amen is a very enjoyable memoir from not only a legendary artist, but a legendary Christian, and legendary human being. Randy Travis opens up about his early rough beginning, his determined rise to fame, his personal tragedies and ultimately his resilience, his perseverance, and reconnection with his faith. Mr. Travis’ trials and tribulations reveal the underlying facets of character that undoubtedly play a huge part in his success in music and in life. We are treated to a front row seat of the career of a man who wanted to be true to his art form of pure Country music. In divining that truth, Travis remained in awe of his professional predecessors as well as his fans. The book is rich with anecdotes of the very humble Mr Travis being awe inspired by the many closet celebrity country music fans’ awe of him. This book takes the reader behind the scenes of the evolution of the Randy Travis catalog of country hits from the creator’s perspective. I found myself further engrossed, as I felt compelled to cue up that very catalog to step through the audio and reconnect with it musically as I read. While that took some extra time and slowed my reading pace some, it was well worth the investment. Read Forever and Ever, Amen, and not only will you learn more about the stellar career of a legend and sometimes tragic life episodes he endured, you may end up with a new and very worthy hero. The world would be a far better place with more people like Randy Travis. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harper Collins Publishing in exchange for my honest review. For more reading recommendations, visit Book Junkie Reviews at www.abookjunkiereviews.wordpress.com

  9. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Truly inspirational. I had no idea how much the stroke impacted his life. Randy Travis is very lucky to be alive. The only thing I wished that was explored more in this book is his creative process. An excellent book!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Vicki

    I enjoyed this audiobook so much. I learned about Randy’s childhood, his teen years, how he got started in the music industry, and more. It was all very interesting. I really only listened to classic rock up until the time I met my husband in the late 80’s. He liked all genres of music so I got used to listening to a lot of different music. Soon I was a fan of many different country stars, including Randy Travis. There were parts of this book that were funny, but also a lot of sad things. I learne I enjoyed this audiobook so much. I learned about Randy’s childhood, his teen years, how he got started in the music industry, and more. It was all very interesting. I really only listened to classic rock up until the time I met my husband in the late 80’s. He liked all genres of music so I got used to listening to a lot of different music. Soon I was a fan of many different country stars, including Randy Travis. There were parts of this book that were funny, but also a lot of sad things. I learned so much about his life, and I’m sure there are many people who would learn a lot about him too. I liked hearing about his career and the people he met, many famous names! I was sad to learn that his first manager/wife (Lib) controlled almost everything in his life, including who he spent his spare time with and his finances, and that she took so much from him. I liked her in the beginning of the book but then her true colors came out. I don’t think she was/is a person any of us would want to have in our lives. Read/listen to the book and I think you’ll agree. Randy’s life was filled with super highs and super lows, and it breaks my heart to learn that Lib took such advantage of him. It was implied in the book that she was the one who took almost every penny he ever made, and I couldn’t think of anyone else who would have done it since the book stated she was the one person in control of everything. She also took most all of his belongings without his knowledge when she left because of their divorce. Thankfully, he found happiness with his second wife Mary. He was always a trusting, kind person, and he has been taken advantage of, and that is so sad to me. Randy is a Christian, who has done un-Christian like things, which is true of a lot of Christians. But I’m glad that both his faith and wife Mary got him through the massive stroke and coma that almost took his life. This was read by Rory Feek and he did a great job!

  11. 5 out of 5

    patrick Lorelli

    Listening to his music when he was popular I really never knew anything else about him. I still thought he was married to the woman who had been his manager for all of these years, but they broke up and divorce years back. Travis goes into his childhood and the trouble he caused, and how he was arrested more than once. He also explains how he got into singing and then having the women who was 18 years his senior not only be his manager, but also his wife. She left her husband for Randy. She woul Listening to his music when he was popular I really never knew anything else about him. I still thought he was married to the woman who had been his manager for all of these years, but they broke up and divorce years back. Travis goes into his childhood and the trouble he caused, and how he was arrested more than once. He also explains how he got into singing and then having the women who was 18 years his senior not only be his manager, but also his wife. She left her husband for Randy. She would much later leave an older Randy for a younger guy. I did have some problems with her being with him when he was 16, 17 and she was 34 or 35, seems like statutory rape if it was a man in his thirties with a girl in her teens. Well just saying. The lady would take advantage of the whole situation and much later when the divorce happened money was missing and so-called friends of his would not answer his calls. That whole part was just frustrating. He goes into the writing of songs and the people either he wrote them with or the person or people that wrote the songs that became his biggest hits. He fusses up to the charges he received for drunk driving, though I still think the police were wrong for not taking him to the hospital with glass in his head. Protect and serve did not seem like it was being forced. He goes into his sickness and his new wife sticking by his side when she could have walked away. What I got out of this book was a man owning up to his faults and saying he done wrong, who hasn’t. He is trying to live his faith and for others, it seemed like they were able to take advantage because he was famous. Overall not a bad book a few places where it dragged but most bio’s do. A good book. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

  12. 4 out of 5

    Koren

    First of all, I have to say Randy Travis was a major reason I became a country music fan in the late 80's and the 90's, which for me were the golden years of country music. So I was excited for this book come out. I saw Randy and his wife on tv promoting the book so I knew that Randy is aphasic (non-verbal) since his stroke and his wife probably had the most input into this book. But I understand it probably comes across better as a memoir than a bio. I was bored with the beginning when it talks First of all, I have to say Randy Travis was a major reason I became a country music fan in the late 80's and the 90's, which for me were the golden years of country music. So I was excited for this book come out. I saw Randy and his wife on tv promoting the book so I knew that Randy is aphasic (non-verbal) since his stroke and his wife probably had the most input into this book. But I understand it probably comes across better as a memoir than a bio. I was bored with the beginning when it talks about his younger years. As a major Randy fan I knew most of this info but I can see that it needs to be included for the ones that arent familiar. Then the book mostly focuses on his work, the stories behind the songs and albums and concerts. The book really gets interesting when he gets divorced and his subsequent stroke. I felt bad that he had to go through such a contentious divorce and then nearly dying from a stroke. I think if you are a country music fan you will enjoy this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I have been a Randy Travis fan for as long as I can remember, thanks to the good ol’ days when CMT actually played music videos. I have seen him front row in concert and loved it. This book was a nice insight into his life and career and relationships. I can’t help but feel a bit of sadness and anger with his relationship with Lib and the fact that he never had children, but wanted them. But I am happy that Mary seems like an amazing person and partner for him and I wish them both many years of I have been a Randy Travis fan for as long as I can remember, thanks to the good ol’ days when CMT actually played music videos. I have seen him front row in concert and loved it. This book was a nice insight into his life and career and relationships. I can’t help but feel a bit of sadness and anger with his relationship with Lib and the fact that he never had children, but wanted them. But I am happy that Mary seems like an amazing person and partner for him and I wish them both many years of happiness together.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kirstin Dobson

    A great book-- just a little sugar-coated to be completely realistic at all times with all events.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sam Sattler

    I can remember so clearly the first time I heard a Randy Travis recording and how excited I was to discover his first major label release, the album Storms of Life. To understand my excitement, you have to recall just how bad country music radio was in mid-1986 when that album came out of nowhere; traditional country music was on its deathbed, having been replaced by spawns of that awful Urban Cowboy craze that gave us the silliness of John Travolta being accepted as a cowboy role model, line-da I can remember so clearly the first time I heard a Randy Travis recording and how excited I was to discover his first major label release, the album Storms of Life. To understand my excitement, you have to recall just how bad country music radio was in mid-1986 when that album came out of nowhere; traditional country music was on its deathbed, having been replaced by spawns of that awful Urban Cowboy craze that gave us the silliness of John Travolta being accepted as a cowboy role model, line-dancing, and some of the worst music I’ve ever heard. Fans of traditional country music were yearning for new songs in the style they had loved their entire lives – but no one in the industry was paying any attention. And then Randy Travis burst onto the scene as one of those overnight successes (who, of course, had been working for peanuts for years), and all was well in the world of country music again. Suddenly, everyone wanted to make music in Randy’s neo-traditionalist style and major labels were falling all over themselves trying to find their own version of Randy Travis. And for a while, that’s exactly what happened, enabling fans of real country music to hear the real thing on their radios for another few years. Sadly though, as soon as Randy’s generation hit middle age, the boom was over and country radio is worse today than it ever has been. But that’s not Randy’s fault. He did his bit. But it wasn’t easy. Forever and Ever, Amen is one of those conversational memoirs produced by so many celebrities and their co-authors (in this case that would be co-author Ken Abraham) that we’ve come to expect over the years. Reading them often has the feel of sitting down across the table from the celeb in question and listening to them reminisce for five or six hours. Forever and Ever, Amen is a little different, though, for readers who already know how the story is going to end. For those readers, this is more like watching one of those horror movies where you want to yell at the actors on screen not to go into that room or open that closet door. In the cases of Randy Travis, I wanted to yell at him, “Stay away from Lib Hatcher, whatever you do, Randy. Don’t listen to her.” Amazingly enough, Randy Travis is such a forgiving person that he gives Hatcher all the credit for making him into the huge country music star he became despite the fact that she robbed him blind in the process, manipulated everything in his personal life to her benefit, and is probably at least technically guilty of some level of child abuse (Travis was 17 years old when their relationship began and Hatcher is more than a decade older than him). He emphasizes her role in launching and managing his career, as well as in weaning him from the teenaged drugging and drinking habits that would have likely seen him end up in prison had he not met her. And even when enumerating the ways that Hatcher abused his trust in her, both financially and emotionally, Travis never adopts an angry tone. But there’s still the ending (at least for now it’s the ending) of the story, and that’s the part of Forever and Ever, Amen that I can’t imagine anyone reading with a dry eye. In 2013, Randy Travis suffered a massive stroke while in the midst of life-threatening breathing difficulties that stopped his heart in a hospital emergency room. Because he went into a coma at the same time, no one recognized that Travis had had a stroke and he was not treated for it until two days later, way too late to prevent massive brain damage and paralysis of his right side. It got so serious at one point that those closest to him were advised by doctors to pull the plug on him to end his suffering. When he did finally leave the hospital, the man had to learn to walk and talk again, and his recording career was over. But Randy Travis is not a quitter, so maybe one day we will be reading Forever and Ever, Amen, Part 2. I hope so. Bottom Line: Forever and Ever, Amen is a heartfelt memoir that tells the story of a man of faith who managed to beat the odds more than once in his life. His story is a remarkable one that will especially be appreciated by Randy Travis fans, but more importantly, it is an inspirational story powerful enough to change lives for the better.

  16. 5 out of 5

    David

    A tell all biography of one of the greats of country music. Randy Travis follows his life from growing up in the home of an alcoholic father, to beginning his music career at age 17 while being controlled by his manager, girlfriend and later wife. Travis recounts his years of success in country music only to find out later that his controlling wife/manager was stealing from him. The book ends without going into the details of his financial losses, other than the suggestion that she left him almo A tell all biography of one of the greats of country music. Randy Travis follows his life from growing up in the home of an alcoholic father, to beginning his music career at age 17 while being controlled by his manager, girlfriend and later wife. Travis recounts his years of success in country music only to find out later that his controlling wife/manager was stealing from him. The book ends without going into the details of his financial losses, other than the suggestion that she left him almost penniless. Most surprising to me was his grace and lack of bitterness as a result of the treatment he received. The book picks up steam in the last third when his life and career start going off the tracks. I had heard of his DWI and very public embarrassing events, but it was good to understand the back story. Travis does not sugar coat the events and acknowledges his failures, but they are understandable when put in context. His tragic heart disease and stroke that almost killed him and left him severely disabled is covered in the last several chapters. I have a much greater admiration for Randy Travis as a man after reading the book. He was not perfect, but he acknowledged that all he had was due to the grace of God, including the unlikely ability to tell his life story. I hope the book is a great success. He deserves it. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an advanced reader copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    I truly Loved this Book. It proves that things are not always the way they seem. Beautifully written with much detail!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anne Marie

    When I saw this book is on the life of Randy Travis whom is my favorite country singer since he first came out I knew I had to read his life story. I thought I knew a lot about him because of him being on the news many times and the newspaper articles but I loved this behind the screens of Randy’s life. I read this book in an hour and I will be getting a copy for my home library! If you love biographies or just a fan of his then you must pick up a copy of this book! I highly recommend this book! I When I saw this book is on the life of Randy Travis whom is my favorite country singer since he first came out I knew I had to read his life story. I thought I knew a lot about him because of him being on the news many times and the newspaper articles but I loved this behind the screens of Randy’s life. I read this book in an hour and I will be getting a copy for my home library! If you love biographies or just a fan of his then you must pick up a copy of this book! I highly recommend this book! I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson publishers for my honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life is a fascinating read. I highly recommend it for readers who enjoy country music. Five stars.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    As he's been a superstar longer than I've been alive, it's kind of easy to just assign the routine trials and tribulations of a celebrity musician to Mr. Travis, and, when you consider the clearly bizarre string of events he has gone through the past few decades, one can just shrug the shoulders and figure that such exclamatory moments are a part of the package when you live an artist's life. But that's not the case here. Starting from his childhood, Randy recounts the unique avenue through whic As he's been a superstar longer than I've been alive, it's kind of easy to just assign the routine trials and tribulations of a celebrity musician to Mr. Travis, and, when you consider the clearly bizarre string of events he has gone through the past few decades, one can just shrug the shoulders and figure that such exclamatory moments are a part of the package when you live an artist's life. But that's not the case here. Starting from his childhood, Randy recounts the unique avenue through which he achieved his status as a country music legend, unflinching in his resolve to hold fast on his traditional tastes. Self-effacing, appreciative without end, and considerate even of those who betrayed him, Travis' words also communicate his subdued nature and wry humor--it rings out as clearly as any of his songs on the radio. Most people wouldn't know or remember that there was so much more to the stories involving his arrests and his unfortunate medical woes; he describes it all in detail (as much as he can remember, coupled with what he's uncovered since then) and doesn't hesitate to fault himself for being aloof, negligent, or careless when recounting the bad times, even when he has every right to put people on blast and leave it at that. By and large, this is a book of appreciation, giving Travis an opportunity to record his thanks to many who helped him along the way. As you'd expect, you're treated to recollections of how he came about recording so many of his hits; an added bonus is the extra context he gives (exact dates, his fellow nominees (which, again, says a great deal about Travis), locations of things) that help the reader get a better grip on the time. Also, I know what you're thinking and, yes, he does mention the filming of Black Dog. Rest easy. As one could've probably assumed (as he is a traditional country artist), Travis is a dedicated Christian. His faith has helped him through these trying (to say the very least) times, and, fellow Christian or not, the spiritual side of the man is undoubtedly inspiring, warranting respect and admiration. The string of near-unbelievable incidents he's endured never had me in the camp of those discounting him (I just merely remarked that I hope he got his life back in order); but it's a wonderful experience to read that he's basically who I thought he was all along and, now that he's in the position he's in (not to mention that his issuing of this book is an action that certainly leaves the author a bit vulnerable), I look forward to rooting him on and continuing to enjoy his new music with a renewed vigor. Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins, and Thomas Nelson for the advance read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Randy

    Excellent book! His music is very special to me, as it was the soundtrack to a particular period of time of my life. I don't ever remember getting teary eyed reading a book before, but finishing the last few chapters of this one sure did! A MUST READ for anyone familiar with his music!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Janet Graham

    Warm and Honest Autobiography I am a Randy Travis fan and have been since the beginnings of his career. It is so refreshing to have a celebrity write an autobiography and present a clear picture of himself, warts and all. This book is a lot more candid than I expected. He takes us through his rough start in life, though the highs and lows and ends up giving us a clear picture of the man. He celebrates all of the stars who have helped him and does not embellish those who have done him wrong. He ke Warm and Honest Autobiography I am a Randy Travis fan and have been since the beginnings of his career. It is so refreshing to have a celebrity write an autobiography and present a clear picture of himself, warts and all. This book is a lot more candid than I expected. He takes us through his rough start in life, though the highs and lows and ends up giving us a clear picture of the man. He celebrates all of the stars who have helped him and does not embellish those who have done him wrong. He keeps that to the facts. He also doesn't blame others for his shortcomings. This is an interesting look at the country music business as well as the country music icon. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tracey Newland

    If you love Randy Travis you will love this book ❤️

  24. 4 out of 5

    Charity Lounsbery

    I truly enjoyed reading this book and getting the back story for many songs that I have always enjoyed! You feel a connection especially when you remember seeing events or videos and then have them recreated! Inspirational and wonderful!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Terwilliger

    Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC! This book was a struggle for me...I really loved 90's country and was a fan of Randy Travis. I thought this book would be a good one to read to shed some light on his newsworthy behavior of recent years. It took me awhile to get going with this because at first I was bored...but once his career kicked off and things started happening I was interested. After his divorce I couldn't put it down! There was a lot more to his story than I realized and am so glad I w Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC! This book was a struggle for me...I really loved 90's country and was a fan of Randy Travis. I thought this book would be a good one to read to shed some light on his newsworthy behavior of recent years. It took me awhile to get going with this because at first I was bored...but once his career kicked off and things started happening I was interested. After his divorce I couldn't put it down! There was a lot more to his story than I realized and am so glad I was able to read this and review it. If you are 90's country kid like me you'll love all of the name drops, the song mentions, and the interesting life of Randy Travis!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    I read few of these types of books but decided to try this one. Plus my Mom is a big Randy Travis fan. I most likely will buy her this book too. It was a easy fast story which kept my interest. I enjoyed it and I’m sure his fans will like it too It’s so sad this happened to him, such a great voice!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mark Anderson

    This book was recommended by a friend a few days ago and after starting it I could not put it down! Wow! I learned many things I didnt know about Randy Travis. This is a really well done autobiography.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

    I don’t know about y’all, but I wouldn’t want a bunch of people writing my memoir for me after I’ve had a stroke and can’t communicate easily. That ain’t right.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kev Willoughby

    I don't know that I've ever read an autobiography that was more transparent and as honest as this one, even to his own detriment. Randy Travis is very forthcoming about his history of mistakes and failures, and even though he has a lot of regrets, I don't detect any bitterness in these pages. Instead, he seems sincerely interested in helping his fans and readers know the truth about his life and what he has learned from his poor choices. And in spite of some of the terrible things he admits that I don't know that I've ever read an autobiography that was more transparent and as honest as this one, even to his own detriment. Randy Travis is very forthcoming about his history of mistakes and failures, and even though he has a lot of regrets, I don't detect any bitterness in these pages. Instead, he seems sincerely interested in helping his fans and readers know the truth about his life and what he has learned from his poor choices. And in spite of some of the terrible things he admits that he's done, I believe that most readers will find themselves rooting for Randy to continue recovering the life of music that has been taken away from him in his later years. Much of what Randy has lived through is quite astonishing. Although he had a supportive family as a young person, Randy regularly stayed in trouble with local police, and eventually his parents signed over custody of him to a couple in a local town who were committed to helping Randy get started with a music career and keeping him out of jail. Shortly thereafter, Randy admits that he broke up the marriage of that couple. What followed were more than three decades of emotional abuse at the hands of his female guardian, who eventually became his first wife. During that portion of Randy's life, that one dysfunctional relationship overshadowed his success as a country music artist and was so burdensome to him that he couldn't enjoy his success. The pursuit of what turned out to be an immoral and severely dysfunctional relationship negatively impacted most of his other family and business relationships for the rest of his music career. That lesson alone is worth the price of the book. When he finally got out of that relationship, he was still figuring things out and doing what he thought was right. However, he was still doing some things he shouldn't have at the same time: "Most important, I got back into my routine of getting up early and reading my Bible each morning. Despite my ongoing legal issues, I felt as though life was coming together well. To top everything off, Mary and I were making plans to be married after her long, drawn-out divorce was final." It seemed odd that he touted the value of making sure he read his Bible every day at the same time that he was waiting for his girlfriend's marriage to finish falling apart so they could be married. Yet even in this paradox, Randy again acknowledges that he didn't handle that relationship properly either. I think he is very consistent in his transparency and pointing out his own faults from cover to cover in this book. Again, I've never seen an autobiography quite like it. If nothing else, I appreciate his sincerity and honesty. He's not trying to hide anything. At the time that Randy was going through these valleys in his life, I only knew of him by his hit songs on the radio. I only saw the mountaintop experiences and what looked like an enviable life. This book instead offers an uncensored narrative of how Randy lived the life behind the songs that made him a legend, destroying his life in the process. Having vividly remembered those songs, growing up in the 1980s and early 1990s, I couldn't put the book down very much after I started it. I still remember Randy as the vibrant, youthful singer from the music video for the song, "Forever and Ever, Amen." And just as I'm sure it seems to Randy now looking back, the rest of the book was a blur. The prime of his career went by too fast, and much of it seemed rushed and it was over too soon. He expresses feelings of wishing he had enjoyed it much more than he did. I wish he had been able to enjoy it more as well. In spite of his acknowledged shortcomings, most readers would still wish Randy Travis a better fate. I think Randy says it best with these words: "None of us can ever completely erase our past sins. Only Jesus can do that for us. So while I must live with the reminders of the sinful things I have done in my life, I don't have to live with the guilt, shame, or humiliation of those things anymore. I can step into the future with confidence because Jesus paid the price for my forgiveness, and He has set me free." There are so many life lessons in this book about making the right choices, exercising patience and restraint, overcoming adversity, opening lines of communication, extending forgiveness, and cherishing the present. I would highly recommend Randy's story to anyone, and I'm still hoping he has a few chapters left to write.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pastor Greg

    If you're a Randy Travis fan, as I have been since 1984 which was the first time a friend of mine popped in a cassette with his first album on it, you will enjoy this one. You'll learn things about Randy's childhood and family, how and why he began to sing, how he made it in the country music business and what events took place over the decades up to this point. Thankfully, Randy is still with us. I was given a hard copy of this autobiography sharing the title of one of Randy Travis' greatest hit If you're a Randy Travis fan, as I have been since 1984 which was the first time a friend of mine popped in a cassette with his first album on it, you will enjoy this one. You'll learn things about Randy's childhood and family, how and why he began to sing, how he made it in the country music business and what events took place over the decades up to this point. Thankfully, Randy is still with us. I was given a hard copy of this autobiography sharing the title of one of Randy Travis' greatest hits by someone who knew that I wanted to read it. But I used an Audible credit and let Rory Feek read it to me. He did a decent job reading but I honestly would have preferred a professional reader. A visually-impaired friend listened to this book at the same time I did and she said that she had to speed him up in order to listen and enjoy the reading. I also could have done without Rory's short reflections in between each chapter. I'm not a big Rory fan, I'll admit, but even if I were, the audio quality of his "reflections" sounded like some took the original and then recorded them on a cheap old audio recorder like we used to use in the 80's. And then, to add insult to injury, his comments sounded like they were off-the-cuff and just something to fill in time... which was not needed. Anyway,... This is pretty raw. Travis is very open about his failures and those of others, but not in any sort of vindictive or slanderous way. Travis has been influenced by the Church of Christ sect who teach what is called "baptismal regeneration" which puts trust in H2O to wash sins (a heresy that began as early as Paul's own conversion according to Acts 22:16) and not the blood of Jesus (as JESUS tells us our sins are washed away in Revelation 1:5). That and some other comments concern me. We can only pray that Randy is clear on the full price of his own sin being payed for on the Cross and conquered by the event that resulted in an empty tomb, and not on baptism or some other "works of righteousness which we have done" (Titus 3:4-6). Beyond that, this is a very interesting autobiography. Randy's relationships including some with country music greats like George Jones as well as his rubbing shoulders with Presidents and Preachers all make a great story. He's lived an amazing life. And his is an important story that may help encourage his fans through hard times as well as possibly introducing Jesus Christ and Biblical faith to any lost souls who pick up this book and give it a read.

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