I really enjoyed reading Along the Way: The Journey of Father and Son. The book is authored by Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. Hope Edelman also is listed as a contributor. The book just came out in May 2012. Libraries should look to acquire both the book and the movie, The Way. These are great works that will no doubt be highly circulated and enjoyed by the general public.
While I have been accustomed to reading autobiographies I had never read a dual memoir of a father and son before. I was completely fascinated to learn of the hardships that both men had to endure in order to enter the acting profession. What really mattered above all was that the actors enjoyed what they were doing. On page 35 Martin Sheen reflects on what it was like working in New York City as a struggling actor, “Possessions, comfort, security- none of this felt like it mattered. All that mattered was making art, participating in art, and having a creative life. We took for granted that to be artists you had to live very frugally and suffer. Everyone we knew was barely scraping by and we accepted this as our lot too, because if we didn’t pursue art we would never be happy.”
Also one of the things that I liked was the advice that is given from generation to generation within the family. On page 282 Emilio Estevez recounts advice that his father gave to his son. “Follow your heart,” my dad told him, “Don’t ever leave it behind. You can always say you made the wrong choice afterward, but you should have the experience rather than risk the regret of never knowing.”
Another key point that is brought up throughout the course of the book is the family’s roots in Spain. I like how Emilio Estevez writes about his own journey from acting, directing, and then to creating his own vineyard. On page 383 of the book Estevez reflects on how his life on the vineyard is not that different from the life that his grandfather’s family had. “If there is such a thing as ancestral memory, I feel it at work at my home in the guise of my grandfather, Francisco. I never had a chance to develop a close relationship with my father’s father, who died when I was ten. Yet I feel his influence in my vineyard and my garden each time I pull a vegetable from the ground of check the progress of the vines. The relationships we’re having now, removed from the trappings of time echoes back to generations of men before us who lived off their land.”
The movie, The Way, also was well worth getting. The protagonist Tom Avery truly undergoes a positive metamorphosis along the Camino. The sense of community between Avery and the other pilgrims like Jack from Ireland, Joost from Amsterdam, and Sarah from Canada was such an integral part of the film. The beautiful scenes of Spain (both its rural landscape and its cities), of pilgrims on the route, and the hospitality shown to pilgrims makes one want to travel to Spain to walk the Camino.