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Reader comments about the Fred books
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  Thought I'd give you one of the best compliments an author can receive. I'm definitely going to read the Fred books a second time.
-- Donna Gilbert

This is one seriously good book. I couldn't put it down. I stayed up all night reading it. I laughed. I cried. At all of the appropriate parts, too. I wish I could pick out all of the things that mean something to me in this book, but I'd have to basically copy the whole thing.
--BJ, NC

  So often trilogies grow weaker with each edition. Escape is definitely the best!
-- Paul Newell

I just finsished Escape From Fred. I loved it. I couldn't put it down. Brad is such a good writer. It seemed to me that it was a love story about his family. Wonderful book. Funny and sobering and thoughtful and serious.
--Buff Flegal, Beaverton, Oregon

  I stayed up very late last night finishing Living with Fred and was so relieved to find this morning that the third book in the trilogy has been published.

I will never forget some of the scenes from Welcome to Fred and Living with Fred . . . Mark's ride with Darnell in the Hound of Hell in book one and his race against the train in book two will be forever etched in my memory. I feel like I just escaped with my life. The inquisition with the Deacons in book two was a powerful and convicting reminder for the Church that Jesus came to seek and save the lost, not pamper the saved.

I can't wait to get my hands on Escape from Fred. I'd better get some sleep before I start as I know it will be another "can't put it down."

Thank you, Brad Whittington for sharing your wonderful gift to glorify God with outrageous humor and profound truths.
--Dianne Brooks, Cape May, NJ

I found an article from the TYLER COUNTY BOOSTER dated February, 2002, in which the writer states that the Fred Books are "loosely based" on characters and events taken from the author's experiences growing up in Fred. I - like many other readers, probably - don't want that! I want those people to be real! (Some of them at least.) But, of course, I have to come back after the very entertaing experience of reading the books and face reality. The main question I have right now is: What became of "Bubba"?

[BW: Good question! Don't know for sure, but I always hoped he turned out something like Real Live Preacher.]

  Thank you for writing your books; last night I couldn't sleep after watching the hurricane coverage. "Fred" reminded me the world is a pretty good place to be.
--Pat, Texas

I just read the first book I finished it last night and I loved it. My mom bragged about it so much so I figured would try it. I don't know what it is about it that makes it so interesting, but it might be the little things that just make you laugh out loud, from the Elder incident to the top of the car washing machine. Plus the writing style is just great. I feel bad for my mom. She already read both the books a few months ago and has been waiting all this time for the third; at least I have the second to hold me over. I . have . to . try . and . read . it . slowly! I won't take up too much of your time, I want you to finish the book!
--Matthew, Long Island, NY

[BW: No worries, the third one is out!]

  Hello Bradford. I forgot to tell you that I found the line in Welcome to Fred which you borrowed from my song - just before Judy and I left for Europe. I read several lines past it, did a literary double-take, and went back when it dawned on me what I had just seen. It's been an enjoyable read. Thanks!
--Jack Williams, www.jackwilliamsmusic.com

[BW: If you haven't heard Jack Williams, you owe it to yourself to check out his music, especially live! And if you listen enough, you'll find the line in Welcome to Fred that I stole from one of his songs.]

A warm thank-you for Welcome to Fred. All of us in some fashion and at some time have felt like Mark Cloud--that we were "the lone man-child in a land without promise." Beyond its clever and warm-hearted humor, your book presents us with wonderful characters I would love to actually meet. You consider issues of faith with realism and respect. It is clear, that among other things that have touched it, Fred, Texas has been touched by God's grace. I look forward to more of your work. With best wishes,
--Ronald Szudy, Parma, Ohio

  I have just finished reading your book, after being told about it by a very good friend. I grew up in Fred, and moved away at the age of 30. I have been lucky enough to purchase the property that my grandparents owned and moved back to Fred about a year ago. Some of the things you describe in your book are so real to me....seeing as how I have a dried up creek about 1/4 mile from my house and on my property are more pine trees than you can shake a stick at...lol. I have very fond memories of growing up in Fred; in a time when girls weren't afraid to get dirty, shopping malls were not "the place to be", and being able to climb a tree was always a plus.

Some of my dearest childhood memories were brought back to me while reading your book and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now a fan for life,
--Cindi, Fred, Texas

I finished the book and I must say I'm very proud of you. It was delightfully funny while delivering a great message.

I found your book by accident. Thank God the lovebugs were really bad this year or I may never have seen it. Since the buildup of those nasty creatures was starting to take over in a corner, I sat down on the floor at work and proceeded to clean. While there, I glanced at the cover of the very last book on the very last shelf.

When I saw the title, my first reaction was "Fred? There's no trees on this cover. Don't they know Fred is in EAST Texas?" Then it hit me. "Who's the author?" My eyes scrambled to find Whittington and THERE IT WAS! I ran for the phone to let Donece know I was bringing another book home I was sure he'd want to read. With a short "OK, what is it?" I replied "Welcome to Fred." "BRAD WROTE A BOOK?!?!?!?!?!"

Now I'm sure Donece was your inspiration for Darnell Ray because he is still terrorizing me to this day. The little ball on his steering wheel finally rotted away and could not be replaced.
--Vera, Brenham, Texas

[BW: Darnell Ray sighting #2.]

  I did think that Darnell Ray's character was hilarious, and if I'm not mistaken, my husband has worked with him for the past 9 years. If this is not the person that you based Darnell Ray on, then this is a HUGE coincidence. Your portrayal of Darnell Ray fits ER to a T, including the Coke-bottle glasses.
--Carla, Fred, Texas

[BW: Darnell Ray sighting #1.]

I just finished Welcome to Fred this morning. We are reading it for our church (Frazer Memorial United Methodist) book club, or otherwise I might have missed it! Thanks for bringing back many memories of growing up in the late 60s, early 70s. Yes, I listened to WLS on my transistor radio under my pillow. It was much clearer at night, of course, beaming its signal from Chicago to Birmingham, Alabama, where I grew up. (I now live in Montgomery). I remember specific deejays - Dex Card, Larry Lujak. It was also cool to hear the newest Beatles songs first. I'm assuming you, like Mark, also indulged in such? Which would make you about my age? (I am 52, sigh...)

I must tell you, however, that a couple of things bothered me. You can take it! The Swamp Fox was Francis Marion, not Marion Francis (page 3) - or is that the way Mark was taught? Also, wrong use of affect instead of effect at the top of page 42 ("If it had an affect on M, he didn't show it."). But hey, I was an English major and now make my living as an editor, so these things jump out at me.
--LV, Montgomery, Alabama

[BW: You're right; I can take it. Can you believe that it went a year before somebody pointed out the Francis Marion thing to me? And the first to point it out was Ray Blackston, author of "Flabbergasted" and its sequels. Other typos in the first release besides affect/effect were rue/roux (caught by Merle Bobzien) and Monkeys/Monkees.]

  I wanted you to know that I just read Welcome to Fred and loved it! Thanks for a great read! My husband is now reading it. He's only in the second chapter and I have seen his mouth twitching as well!

I heard about your book from Lisa Samson, author of (many books but also) The Church Ladies... I was so glad for the recommendation!

My husband just read to me (again) the description of when Thelma Perkins is introduced... he is laughing so hard that tears are rolling down his cheeks! We both love the way you describe things -- and yes, we'd love to be on your e-mail list, can't wait for your next book!
--PJ, Fort Worth, Texas

[BW: I'm just proud to know Lisa is recommending my stuff. It's an honor just to know her. Gang, if you haven't read Lisa Samson, get thee to a bookstore immediately! I recommend The Living End for starters.]

I just finished Living with Fred. It only took me a day and a half. Now I am angry that I have to wait forever for the third book. Thank you for this book--I laughed out loud and cried. I'm a minister's wife and these books gave me some much needed encouragement!! Keep them coming!!
--Kim, Jacksonville, Florida

[BW: Don't let the sun set on your anger. Instead, get a Lisa Samson book to keep you company until Escape from Fred is released.]

  Not often does a book elicit audibly delighted chuckles as Welcome to Fred.
--Kelly Henderson, Tucson, Arizona

Hey, how come there's not more about me in that second book?
--Darnell Ray, Fred, Texas

  I really, really enjoyed reading "Welcome to Fred, Texas". What a funny book and what a good author. I am half way through with your new book and find it hard to put down. It is equally as funny.
--Buff Flegal, Beverton, Oregon

On a whim I grabbed both Welcome to Fred and Living with Fred off the bookshelf to take on a long ride up North and chuckled most of the way. Whittington has a wonderful gift wit words and I love the way they tickled my brain and rolled off my tongue as I read passages out loud to other family members in the car.

I can't wait for the third book.
--Jeanni Meade, Livingston, Texas

  Oh, man, can this guy Brad Whittington tell a story! A true wordsmith with a penchant for putting lovable characters in out-of-comfort zone situations. The road trips in this book should be combined with the road trips in Flabbergasted to span the country with zany adventures. Write faster, Brad!
--RB, Greenville, SC

What an Awesome book, the best novel I've read in a long time. I bought the book three months ago and am kickin' myself for not readin' it sooner!!! Please write more of this character and his experiences, I wish I knew how his life turned out... I too, have been misplaced in East Texas, and the mixin' verb tenses ain't the easiest thing to get used to.

  I resisted reading Welcome to Fred for a long time. Recently, I found I had time on my hands and had run out of excuses so I broke down and bought a copy. I have read a lot of books in my life and I know the good ones are the ones you canÍt put down. Well, I finished your book and I want more! You have started an interesting story and I am curious to see where you will take me next. I got totally absorbed in the journey and its delightful surprises. Just when I thought I had the whole story figured out you hit me with yet another twist. So I am ready for more - keep writing and donÍt stop until the story is told.
--KH, Honolulu, HI

I lost interest in reading long ago. I was lazy and relied too much on that confounded television to take me out on challenging journeys and find anything relative to my own life. Then I read Welcome to Fred and rediscovered the pleasure of getting lost in a book and how the ink gives me the freedom to live an adventure to the max! The story just flows and allows for all emotions to kick in. I'll be giving copies out as Xmas gifts this year.
--Reborn Reader, Rio Vista, TX

  I finally bought me a copy of Welcome to Fred . . . and better yet, I read it over a short holiday to California. What an enjoyable trip you take the reader on. I had a great time with a lot of smiles and belly laughs. People around me on the plane were looking my way.
--D Nuckols, Scottsdale, AZ

The next book I read will have to go some to beat Welcome to Fred; great author and his style is so relaxed I hated to finish the book.
--Satisfied Reader, North America

  This book is so Brad . . . dry humor, quirky phrases, looking at life with a sharp-witted honesty. I really enjoyed this, my "summer read". My mom caught me laughing loudly while reading Fred (I didn't know anyone else was home) and just had to know what was so funny. I handed her my copy when I finished so that she could have a tickle as well. Still, in all, Brad's book is not only light and humorous, it gets to your soul.
--T Chadwick, Scottsdale, AZ

Hi Brad. LK at the TSTC library met me for dinner tonight. I followed her back to her home and saw your book. I picked it up and she explained how she came to get your book. I started reading it and Bubba, do you have a way with words. I didn't want to put it down and was hoping that she would offer to let me borrow it. Needless to say, no such luck.
--MC, Waco, TX

  The thing that I hated about the book was that when I finished the last page, I couldn't just pick up the sequel. I wish the three-set version could be published at one time!
--Lanrod, somewhere in Texas

Dear Brad Whittington: You confuse me. Didn't you, Mark, M and me grow up in pre-hippie Maui together!? Wasn't that lady who lived in the cardboard box really the old tattered guy with the faded coconut frond hat -- you know, the guy who perfumed himself with whisky and who, I'm sure, existed just to scare the life out of us by chasing us home after school? And I could swear you knew Wayne Smyth, the daredevil hot-rodder who invited us to test our faith by partaking in some fast and quite illegal adventures in his muscled 348 Chevy. Tell me it was so...please.
--HY, Honolulu, HI

  This is one book really worth reading. I am not much into novels, as so many of them leave you wondering why you spent the time to struggle through it. Not so with "Welcome to Fred." It's funny and interesting enough to make you stay up past bedtime to see what happens next. Great ending, with some real "meat." I think I'm going to try to find a '65 Galaxy to purchase...NOT!
--Tom Howard

I just finished your wonderful book! I am a slow reader, being dyslexic, but I raced thru it since it was such a delightful, easy read. I read most of the book on the flights to and from Atlanta. I got a little carried away by your humor. During the part about the the roller coaster ride with Darn ElRay my body experienced convulsions as I tried to contain my laughter. I am sure the people in my row thought I was experiencing some sort of a seizure. That happened many times during my reading and I look forward to the next one.
--C Dunlap, Scottsdale, AZ

  Well, I just finished Welcome to Fred. Hmmmm. I'm not sure what I feel right now. Perhaps it's like I've just bitten into what I thought was a fudge truffle, only to discover it's a bittersweet dark chocolate; not what I expected, but not unpleasant either. If your intention was to make the reader squirm with emotional unsettlement, you're right on the beam. It's really not about Fred, Texas. Or Ohio, or California or anyplace else for that matter. Maybe it's a little too close to center for comfort. Life itself doesn't necessarily have a happy ending, or any ending at all, for that matter. This is going to take another reading or two.
--MB, Nashua, NH: 21 April : 8am

As I read 'Welcome to Fred' I was amazed that anyone could capture my childhood so completely. I have never identified with a character in a book like I have in this one. The thoughts, emotions and even events are eerily close to my thoughts, emotions and actions. I feel that I am . . . Darnell Ray.
--TDC Inmate # 323623119

  There aren't many things that I can read and actually be so amused as to laugh out loud. An extra special Far Side cartoon, some really cynical punch line in a story you don't see coming, and your book. That's about it. Thanks for the amusement and entertainment that didn't come from an outlet that makes you feel like a lesser person afterwards (such as some cheap TV show that you feel stupid for having wasted your time and intelligence on).
--Janel, San Antonio, Texas

Traveler, heed my advice and take the exit to Fred. Go down that road and find an abundance of gas, food, giggles and lodging for the soul.
--John Sullivan, Scottsdale, AZ

  This has got to be one of the funniest books that I have read in a long, long time. If you want to spend a few days laughing and crying all at the same time, this is the book. Brad Whittington has a great way of expressing himself. It is a wonderful book.
--Buff Flegal, Beverton, Oregon

I'm living proof that native "Fredonians" can learn to read and actually enjoy the experience. Welcome to Fred describes teenage life in Fred, Texas just as I remember it. I just can't see today's pampered teens surviving fifty miles from civilization like we were. It's American Graffiti in East Texas. It's also Brad Whittington, that eternal class clown, who you can count on for lots of good clean laughs. He has a quality that seems so rare these days with all the "trash" in print, music, and other forms of entertainment that we are bombarded with. Yet he addresses the harsh realities of life and trials of faith that all young Chrisians face. Brad covers all the bases in his own delightfully comedic style.

  I currently live in Fred, and find that this book really shows the reality of life here.
--Allen Graham, Fred, TX

Great story. Very amusing in several places, bittersweet. If only I'd had such a wondrous childhood!
--Mark Spyrison

This sentence jumped out at me!
Readers pick sentences from The Fred Books.

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Fred was the vacuum that defied all known laws of physics and pushed me away rather than sucked me in.
As a preacher's kid I was inoculated with the virus of faith at an early age, and as often happens in such cases, it served as a vaccination, sufficient to safeguard against any serious case of religion, even when most of my classmates succumbed to the epidemic of revival that claimed Bubba.
--Bekah H
Deciding if the Bible is true or not is not really an intellectual question; it is a spiritual question.
They split logs and infinitives, chopped wood and prepositional phrases, dangled fish bait and participles--all with equal skill.
--Dana Hensarling
Fred was a gift horse of a different color with its shoe on the other foot.
--Scott Seaburn
When she wasn't looking I stared at her with such intensity I'm surprised it didn't change her hair color.
-- Gary T
We spent the rest of the day drowning our sorrows in the creek.
At the far end of the table the three Furies . . . sat huddled together, whispering like a convention of sprinklers and self-consciously ignoring the boys, who sat as far away as possible.
--Daniel Whitfield
The Woman [has] the last word on what will work and what must go.
--The Woman