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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
256 pages
Apr 2003
Broadman & Holman

Welcome to Fred: A Novel

by Brad Whittington

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


Find the Kindle version of Welcome to Fred now at Amazon.

"The heartwarming journey of a smalltown preacher's adolescent son in the late '60s and early '70s appeals to every age. Readers will smile, chortle, and roar with laughter as they read the misadventures of young Mark Cloud, who fit into rural Texas life "like a Vegas cocktail waitress at an Amish house-raising."

Whittington's gift with words is reason enough to enjoy Fred. Mark's self-image "a few points above plant life" makes for huge laughs as he navigates through adolescence among peers whose "accent was so thick you could grease wheel bearings with it." This coming-of-age story is punctuated by surprises, tragedy, and even murder.

The extra bonus is that it offers self-reflective invitations to think about what's important in life." -- John Bernstein, CBA Marketplace, May 2003

"The coming-of-age story is a perennially attractive offering for the CBA market, and this debut from a promising novelist is an agreeable contribution to the genre. Eleven-year-old Mark Cloud arrives in Fred, Tex., by way of Ohio with a large vocabulary and a hankering for paisley, psychedelic posters, and the works of artist Peter Max. He soon finds that being a Baptist preacher's kid in a hick Texas town in the 1960s leaves a lot to be desired. As Mark struggles to find his identify, he also questions the faith he's grown up with and must make his own. There's no melodrama here, no particular tension, just the slow unfolding of a slice of one boy's adolescence. Whittington has a nice command of vocabulary (refreshing for CBA fiction), although less glitzy language in places might have made for a more satisfying, smoother read. . . . Despite the first-person perspective, the reader sometimes feels more like an observer than a participant. However, there are lovely details, generous portions of humor and plenty of nostalgia (when was the last time the protagonist of a novel sold Grit magazine?). Evangelical Christian readers, especially Texans, will find that Whittington spins an enjoyable, literary story and is definitely a novelist to watch in the CBA market." (Apr.) --Publishers Weekly

"Welcome to Fred is first-time novelist Brad Whittington's appealing story of a preacher's kid (PK) growing up in a tiny, isolated East Texas town. Whittington's publisher compares his style to that of Jan Karon and Phillip Gulley, but his writing is a bit edgier and more contemporary. A funny and honest account of the pains of adolescence and the search for faith. Welcome to Fred should win fans for this new author." --BookPage

Book Jacket:

In January of 1968 Mark arrives in Fred, Texas, from Fort Worth via a brief stay in Ohio. He has followed his father who is pastor to a 100 member church in this simple town of simple people.

Mark, a young man of extraordinary intellect, has to find who he is in this town with which he seems to have so little in common. In his journey he finds more than himself; he finds his faith.

A westward family vacation car trek, puts a strain on the family but also provides many entertaining and humorous situations as Mark is forced to deal with many questions about himself, life, and finally—his God.