Brady, in the novel, “Palm Avenue,” is the golden boy of his hometown, Colby, Kansas. He was the quarterback who threw the pass that won the state championship for the high school football team. He was the homecoming king, and Ashley was his queen, their senior year. His dad was a veterinarian in Colby and one of the most beloved men in town. Brady was set to take over his father’s veterinary practice and life happily ever after in his home town, just as his father had done. Going to Los Angeles was never Brady’s trajectory in life.
But Brady does arrive in Los Angeles. He finds himself walking the mean streets of West Hollywood, virtually invisible to the throngs of people passing by. Nothing about him stands out or is unique. Nobody in Los Angeles cares if he threw the winning pass in high school. Nobody knows who his dad is, or cares. In Los Angeles, Brady experiences alienation and rejection for the first time in his life.
Like Ashley, Brady begins a gradual but striking transformation. He begins doing things he never thought he would do. He uses alcohol to numb the pain, and then turns to drugs and sex. Brady’s physical appearance and style of dress even change, as he tries to fit in. Then, one day, he realizes that he will probably never return to his home town and live the life that was mapped out for him since childhood. He has a hard time reconciling that.
A passage from the book describes his transformation, “ It was only less than a month ago that he arrived in Los Angeles, but it seemed like five years ago. Everything had changed. Everything that he thought he knew was wrong. Everything that he thought he wanted, he no longer wanted. Everything he thought he believed, he no longer believed.”
Brady, like Ashley adapts to his environment and the change is not necessarily positive.