The Story of Tom Brennan

by

J. C. Burke

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The father of Tom, Kylie, and Daniel. Prior to the accident, Dad repaired tractors and was the rugby coach at St. John's in Mumbilli. He was very involved in his son’s rugby careers, and Tom thought Dad was an excellent coach—especially since he always got a professional coach to run practices during the team's preseason training camp. After the accident, however, Dad struggles to hold himself together. He effectively has to parent Tom and Kylie on his own, as Mum refuses to get out of bed most of the time. Tom is aware that Dad's emotional state is extremely fragile, yet he relies on his father keeping it together in order to maintain his own composure. As Dad works at the sheds with Brendan and becomes the assistant coach for the Bennie's rugby team in Coghill, he begins to see that the way he ran things at St. John's was fundamentally flawed. St. John's was focused only on winning, and because of this, they neglected friendship, camaraderie, and acting like a cohesive team. Harvey focuses much more on teambuilding exercises, and though Dad admits that the Bennie's players have a lot to learn technically, they do function well as a team. Tom understands that Dad was often afraid to punish or reprimand Daniel out of fear of Daniel's reaction, but Dad has always been willing to tell Tom hard truths. This leads to Dad's pep talk to Tom in which he tells his son to give Bennie's a chance. Even though Dad seems much improved by the end of the novel, he's still consumed with guilt after the accident. He pays for a lot of things when Aunty Kath and Fin move into their new apartment and insists that his own immediate family help with the move. He tells Tom that they'll never be able to repay their debt, but it's important that they try because Aunty Kath and Fin are family.

Dad Quotes in The Story of Tom Brennan

The The Story of Tom Brennan quotes below are all either spoken by Dad or refer to Dad. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of The Story of Tom Brennan published in 2005.
Chapter Three Quotes

I wandered down the hall in case Mum was awake. The door to her room was open. I stood there. Maybe Dad was telling the truth, maybe she had just gone to bed and was waiting to hear how my first day went. I stepped into the doorway. A thickness in the air hung still and stale.

She didn't see me. How could she under all those covers?

"Yeah, thanks Mum," I whispered. "School went okay."

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Dad, Mum
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Six Quotes

Brendan didn't want to say how bad Fin really was because it'd upset Dad and it wasn't his fault. But then Dad couldn't tell Brendan, or probably anyone for that matter, what state Daniel was in because the general consensus was that Daniel deserved what he got.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Dad, Brendan
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Seven Quotes

The thought of Dad hurting and the possibility that he could drop his bundle at any moment was too much for me to swallow.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Dad, Mum, Kylie Brennan
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Nine Quotes

"But remember your fellow man, Daniel, because life is more than just a one-man show. Everything we do in this life affects others. Did you think of that the night you got behind the wheel, your trusting passengers the loved ones of others? We think probably not."

Related Characters: Gran (speaker), Tom Brennan, Daniel Brennan, Dad, Mum, Kylie Brennan, Nicole
Page Number: 123
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Fourteen Quotes

Bennie's just wasn't the same. Everyone got along, and there was no one person you'd call an arsehole, and they had team unity—you couldn't deny them that. But what they didn't have was technique, and that's what put them on the outer next to teams like St. John's that could play the game in their sleep.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Dad
Page Number: 206
Explanation and Analysis:

"But we can't undo what's done. Bennie's is giving you a chance and, as pathetic as it may seem to you, it's still a chance." Again I heard his swallow, loud and dry. "No one's above anyone, surely you know that by now."

Related Characters: Dad (speaker), Tom Brennan, Daniel Brennan
Page Number: 210
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Fifteen Quotes

Since Dad's rave I'd been giving it all a fair bit of thought, but I couldn't exactly put my finger on it.

"You know, Dan, they really enjoy playing. It's not just about winning."

"Can't see the point," Dan frowned. "I mean, it's all about winning. Isn't it?"

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan (speaker), Dad
Page Number: 213
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Sixteen Quotes

"They couldn't control Dan. They were scared of him. Well, scared of the consequences if they tried to pull him into line [...] Maybe Daniel was always going to do something like this. Maybe he had to fall this far."

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Dad, Fin, Mum, Kylie Brennan, Claire
Page Number: 230
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Seventeen Quotes

I hadn't enjoyed the last season at St. John's, that I knew now. It hadn't mattered how good my game was, the pressure, the disgruntlement, the unpredictability of Daniel just didn't add up to good footy. It added up to frustration and division.

Now I knew differently. Bennie's first fifteen had taught me plenty. When I'd needed it most, Bennie's had reminded me that the game was better when a team was united and loving it.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Dad, Michael Harvey
Page Number: 245
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Story of Tom Brennan LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Story of Tom Brennan PDF

Dad Character Timeline in The Story of Tom Brennan

The timeline below shows where the character Dad appears in The Story of Tom Brennan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
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It's 4:30 a.m. on the 23rd of January. Quietly, Tom and his family—Dad, Mum, and Kylie—load the last of their bags and suitcases into their car. Tom waits... (full context)
Chapter One
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...Daniel. Tom keeps his eyes closed so he doesn't have to look at Mum and Dad struggling to maintain composure as Gran loudly asks God to forgive Daniel. (full context)
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...and Tom, Daniel, Kylie, and their cousin Fin would start a game of cricket while Dad grilled. In the afternoon, Matt, Snorter, Luke, and other friends would show up and the... (full context)
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...he can barely get through it. Finally, at Gran's direction, Brendan passes the knife to Dad. Tom wonders how Brendan can stand living on the same property as Gran and wonders... (full context)
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...insists that Tom will absolutely join the Saint Benedict's rugby team and points out that Dad will be assistant coaching. She declares it'll be a fresh start for everyone. (full context)
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...one responsible for leading his old school, St. John's, to the last three Wattle Shields. Dad hurriedly corrects him that they only won two, as they "missed out" last year. Father... (full context)
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...school the next day. Tom agrees to go, though he regrets it almost immediately when Dad and Gran decide to watch and decide that Kylie has to go too. Gran turns... (full context)
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...about Daniel. Finally, she gets up and begins snatching plates off the table. Kylie and Dad rush to pick up the dropped silverware. When Father Vincent gets up and offers to... (full context)
Chapter Two
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...Gran's house is covered in paintings of saints—Kylie's room has Saint Rose, while Mum and Dad have Saint Jane. (full context)
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...Kylie sits between Gran and Tom in the back. Tom can tell she's extremely angry. Dad and Brendan discuss a tractor they have to fix tomorrow. Tom explains that Dad used... (full context)
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...Shorty, a tall man meticulously picking lettuce off of his burger. Brendan introduces Shorty to Dad as Peter McGregor. Shorty greets Gran and then turns to Tom, whom he recognizes as... (full context)
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...the Wattle Shield for the third year in a row. Luke, the captain, paced, and Dad gave a surprisingly calm pep talk. He gave special instructions to Luke, Daniel, and Fin.... (full context)
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...introduces himself to Tom and asks after Mum. Tom excuses himself and goes to find Dad. Dad introduces Tom to Michael Harvey, the rugby coach at Bennie's. He shakes Tom's hand... (full context)
Chapter Three
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...product in her hair, which makes Kylie very angry. Tom doesn't stop until Kylie attracts Dad's ire by cursing. Dad has a thing about girls swearing, which is why he liked... (full context)
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Dad pulls up at the side entrance of St. Benedict's and tries to give Kylie and... (full context)
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...up with it. Daniel would rage and then sulk, and Tom wondered if Mum and Dad were scared of him since they never tried to do anything about it. (full context)
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Tom enters Gran's house and thinks it's dark and creepy. Dad is in the kitchen and cheerily invites Tom to come with him and Kylie to... (full context)
Chapter Four
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...his family was leaving Mumbilli. He'd been so numb that he hadn't thought much of Dad packing boxes, but figured the need to go was obvious after someone left graffiti on... (full context)
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Later, Gran cooks lamb fry, which smells awful. Tom decides to eat cereal. When Dad notices Tom looking for cereal, he winks and says it's all gone. Tom mutters and... (full context)
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Gran asks Dad about his plans to take Mum and see Daniel the next day. She suggests that... (full context)
Chapter Five
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On Saturday, Mum and Dad drive to see Daniel while Brendan and Tom visit Fin. As Tom and Brendan head... (full context)
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...tells him anything, and Brendan says that they don't actually know much—that's why Mum and Dad went alone today. Tom turns on the radio to end the conversation. He thinks that... (full context)
Chapter Six
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...him the entire time, thankful that Fin didn't see Nicole and Luke's bodies taken away. Dad and policemen coaxed Daniel out of the woods and they left, and someone came to... (full context)
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...that Fin is doing well, but Tom knows that Brendan just doesn't want to upset Dad. He also knows that Dad won't tell anyone how Daniel's doing, because most everyone believes... (full context)
Chapter Seven
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...to coach. Tom flashes on him sobbing in the courtroom when the judge sentenced Daniel. Dad had cried too. Matt mentions that Mumbilli is holding another fundraiser for Fin, and he... (full context)
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Tom wakes up hours later to the sound of the screen door. Dad flips on the living room light and explains he brought home steaks, but Tom excuses... (full context)
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...appointed times and to go to the courthouse on September 13 to enter a plea. Dad had struggled to explain to Kylie that "entering a plea" meant that Daniel would have... (full context)
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...Daniel cried and threw up. They only ate because Matt's mother kept bringing over casseroles. Dad and Brendan attended Nicole and Luke's funerals. The day before Daniel's court appearance, Talbot said... (full context)
Chapter Eight
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On the way home from tryouts, Dad tries to talk positively and enthusiastically about the players. Tom believes Dad is faking it;... (full context)
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...dinner and nobody comes. She goes down the hall to investigate and returns, saying that Dad will eat later with Mum and that Kylie is out with Brianna. She serves up... (full context)
Chapter Nine
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...as he's still not even sure he wants to play—but he knows he can't let Dad down. He finds a book, sits down in a quiet corner, and pretends to read.... (full context)
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...checked out as Daniel's court date for sentencing, November 19, got closer. Though Mum and Dad did what they could to keep Daniel out of jail, Talbot made it clear that... (full context)
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...Then, one night when Gran and Brendan were visiting, Gran heard something at the door. Dad found a letter addressed to "the Brennans" from Nicole's family. Daniel asked him to read... (full context)
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...Claire visited as well. Mum and Kylie couldn't stand her visiting, but her visits made Dad and Tom feel as though something was still normal. Sometimes, she'd come out of Daniel's... (full context)
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...morning of Daniel's hearing, Tom woke to the sound of Daniel vomiting. Later, Mum and Dad nearly turned green when Talbot told them that Judge Williams would hear Daniel's case. Tom... (full context)
Chapter Ten
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Dad wakes Tom up early on Saturday morning and cooks a big breakfast. Tom is excited... (full context)
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...the conversation and Tom whistles as he heads back to the house. He wonders if Dad might be cooking a full breakfast. (full context)
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When Tom walks into the kitchen, Dad is sitting at the table with a grim look and Kylie looks ready to kill.... (full context)
Chapter Eleven
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The next afternoon, Dad and Tom arrive home to find everyone in Mum's room. Mum is curled into a... (full context)
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...the week, and Tom can't figure out why mass is a big deal on Sunday. Dad tries to make Tom wear his good shirt. Tom refuses and is perplexed when Dad... (full context)
Chapter Twelve
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...kept complimenting everyone and saying that having fun was the most important part. Tom believes Dad will straighten Harvey out soon. (full context)
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Tom gets home after dark. He finds Dad, Gran, Mum, and Kylie at the table, Kylie in tears. Tom calls Kylie a stupid... (full context)
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The next morning as Dad and Tom drive through Coghill on their way to see Daniel, Tom sees that Brendan... (full context)
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...it. Tom points out several pictures and he and Daniel go off down memory lane. Dad asks about an older inmate, and Daniel explains that the man is a mentor. He... (full context)
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In the car on the way home, Dad tells Tom that they got an offer on their house in Mumbilli that they're going... (full context)
Chapter Thirteen
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...Brendan tries to ease the tension with little success. Tom tries to escape by helping Dad barbeque, but Fin comes and parks his wheelchair next to Tom. Fin talks about St.... (full context)
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...He thinks that there's no point anymore in looking backwards. The next morning, Mum and Dad get a call that Daniel's mental state went downhill with Fin's birthday. They leave for... (full context)
Chapter Fourteen
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For the weeks that Mum and Dad are with Daniel, Tom throws himself into running with Brendan. Tom either zones out or... (full context)
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Jonny fills in for Dad as assistant coach. The team is somewhat annoyed, as Jonny likes to drill ball handling... (full context)
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...explains that the family's plan for footy camp involves complicated travel plans that will allow Dad to coach the camp and not leave Mum alone. Tom feels as though half his... (full context)
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...informed bet. On the plus side, Tom learns that Chrissy dumped Davin over the weekend. Dad and Harvey meet the bus at camp and Harvey assigns rooms. Tom realizes he hates... (full context)
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...them once. The guys ask Tom how St. John's plays and they tell Tom that Dad is a great coach. Tonelli excuses himself to smoke, knowing that Harvey will confiscate everything... (full context)
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Tom becomes more and more disenchanted as the week goes on. In Mumbilli, Dad used to get a professional coach out at the beginning of the season to work... (full context)
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Tom is confused, but Dad continues. Dad admits that he got someone else to lead camps at Mumbilli because he... (full context)
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Tom feels awful. He knows that Dad has always been willing to tell him hard truths, so he accepts Dad's challenge and... (full context)
Chapter Fifteen
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At the end of camp, Dad and Tom wave the rest of the boys off on the bus and then head... (full context)
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When Mum, Dad, and Tom get in the car, it's already getting dark. They stop for dinner and... (full context)
Chapter Sixteen
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Tom says that Dad was under intense pressure, and Mum and Dad knew they couldn't control Daniel. Tom wonders... (full context)
Chapter Seventeen
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...accident happened. Tom thinks that Brendan held the family together by taking pressure off of Dad, especially when Mum got bad. He thanks Brendan for staying. After a few minutes, Brendan... (full context)
Chapter Eighteen
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...Aralen helping Aunty Kath move. Tom loudly complains about it at dinner one night, but Dad tells Tom very seriously that he has to go to keep Fin updated on what's... (full context)
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Chrissy agrees with Dad that Tom has to go see Fin. She encourages Tom to actually try to talk... (full context)
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...contraptions she installed so Fin can shower and eat. He hears her telling Kylie and Dad that it's like having a baby again, and she admits that Fin is terrified to... (full context)
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Mum, Dad, and Tom return home for the last week of the school holiday. Kylie stays behind... (full context)
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...morning of Gran's birthday, he blindfolds Gran and leads her outside, Kylie, Mum, Brendan, and Dad close behind. They pull the blindfold off and Gran stares at the chickens, dumbfounded. Tom... (full context)
Chapter Nineteen
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...that Owen was there and told him all about how much Bennie's improved thanks to Dad and Tom. Daniel tells Tom he's proud of him. (full context)