Living the Braveheart Life: Finding the Courage to Follow Your Heart

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.

Title:

Living the Braveheart Life: Finding the Courage to Follow Your Heart

Author:

Randall Wallace

Publisher:

W Publishing Group

Publication Date:

September 8, 2015

Format:

Hardcover

Length:

224 pages

OVERVIEW

In the late 1980s, screenwriter Randall Wallace hit a wall. A Screenwriter’s Guild strike had resulted in him losing his job, and after years of making lots of money he had no idea how he would support his family. After praying and considering the matter, he decided to try writing some feature film projects he had been dreaming about. One of those film projects was about legendary Scottish warrior William Wallace and became the box office sensation Braveheart. Years after Braveheart’s release, Wallace looks back at the movie’s writing process and the distinctly Christian ideas that informed it, many of them ideas that he learned in his childhood.

Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2011, Wallace cautioned the audience that he wasn’t a philosopher or theologian, just a storyteller. Much like that speech, the book doesn’t have a lot of structure, but once Wallace starts sharing his stories, there’s something irresistible that draws you in. Wallace relates stories about his family, the values they passed on to him in words and just as often not in words (such as the way his father lost everything in one company’s firing purge and then built his career all over again). He frequently starts or ends a story with a statement that captures the lessons he learned from the experience. For example, in one chapter he observes, “The lessons the Teacher teaches are seldom the ones the Teacher thinks the student is learning.” Since the book doesn’t have much structure, these moral lessons don’t sequentially build on each other the way they would in a Christian living book. Still, the lessons themselves are fascinating and wise, much like the stories Wallace tells to illustrate them. So even though the book doesn’t work as a step-by-step guide to living the Braveheart Life, Wallace’s descriptions of his attempt to live the Braveheart Life are compelling enough that doesn’t matter. His writing is good enough that the book works as a rambling memoir.

A compelling story about trusting God, overcoming mistakes and pursuing joy.  

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5 stars)

4 stars

Suggested Audience

Readers interested in the production of Braveheart and Randall Wallace’s later films (particularly We Were Soldiers), and readers who enjoy autobiographical stories about overcoming obstacles.

Christian Impact

Wallace meditates a lot on what makes for a life well lived, to find the joyful things that make a person feel most alive. Since he’s learned from painful experience that choosing to live that way is challenging, he also contemplates what it means to be laid low and become whole again. Throughout the book he sets these ideas in the context of Christian teachings about calling, redemption and forgiveness.

Living the Braveheart Life: Finding the Courage to Follow Your Heart


2 Responses to “Living the Braveheart Life: Finding the Courage to Follow Your Heart”

  1. Excellent, thoughtful and challenging read!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Hard Choice to Do Good (Building A Better Christian Novel Pt 1) – G. Connor Salter - October 9, 2020

    […] screenwriter Randall Wallace argues in his book Living the Braveheart Life that this is one of the great scenes in literature, and I would agree. And precisely what makes it […]

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