Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

Long Way Gone by Charles MartinLong Way Gone by Charles Martin
Published by Thomas Nelson Incorporated on October 4th 2016
Genres: Coming of Age, Family Life, Fiction
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Goodreads

USA TODAY Bestseller! No matter where you go, no matter whether you succeed or fail, stand or fall, no gone is too far gone. You can always come home. At the age of eighteen, musician and songwriter Cooper O’Connor took everything his father held dear and drove 1,200 miles from home to Nashville, his life riding on a six-string guitar and the bold wager that he had talent. But his wager soon proved foolish. Five years after losing everything, he falls in love with Daley Cross, an angelic voice in need of a song. But just as he realizes his love for Daley, Cooper faces a tragedy that threatens his life as well as his career. With nowhere else to go, he returns home to the remote Colorado mountains, searching for answers about his father and his faith. When Daley shows up on his street corner twenty years later, he wonders if it s too late to tell her the truth about his past and if he is ready to face it himself. A radical retelling of the prodigal son story, Long Way Gone takes us from tent revivals to the Ryman Auditorium to the tender relationship between a broken man and the father who never stopped calling him home.

I personally LOVE the story of the prodigal son. I love other stories that are similar or follow the same theme too. Oh, and I love music, and I love stories about music.  I had never read any book written by Charles Martin and, quite frankly, had never heard of him, but when I read the description of Long Way Gone by Charles Martin, I knew it was one that would be a great read!

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“No matter where you go, no matter whether you succeed or fail, stand or fall, no gone is too far gone.  You can always come home”.

Music is like a very strong character in this beautiful story of retelling the story of the Prodigal Son from the New Testament.  It is a novel that writes in detail about Nashville music and guitars.  As I was reading about all the old familiar gospel songs in this book I was singing them in my head.  All of the characters become so lifelike in the telling of this story.  As Charles Martin creates them, you can feel their emotions and you are sharing their hopes and dreams.  This is a story of Cooper O’Conner’s journey.  Born to a tent-evangelist/guitar playing father; his mother had passed away when he was very young. Coop’s life was spent singing and traveling with his Dad and Big-Big an ex-convict that played the piano while going to new destinations each week.

When Cooper was 18 years old, he felt that he was walking in his father’s shadow while wasting his talents with the tent revivals.  Leaving his father he takes all the money his father had saved, his father’s truck and his father’s guitar (named Jimmy) and heads for Nashville to chase his dream.

Like the Prodigal Son his loving father waits for his return.  Coop’s father’s love and their relationship was wonderful.  This book and its ability to touch my heart caused me to do some soul searching as the underlying message hit home.  This is the first book written by Charles Martin that I have read.  I am looking forward to reading more in the future.  I will remember this book and it’s message for a long time.

Redemption is a huge theme in Long Way Gone and Cooper constantly feels that he has to make amends and that causes him to miss out on a lot, but toward the end he grabs on to life with both hands and the last few chapters are the most beautiful words that Charles has written. This is one of those books that just needs to be shared with everyone – Christian or not. While it’s true that there are religious teachings contained in the story, it doesn’t beat readers over the head so as to chase anyone away – it will resonate in your heart as you read each page of the book. 

Who is Charles Martin?  Here’s what he says:

“Christy and I married in 1993. If you include dating, I’ve known and loved her for more than half my life. She is and always will be the home for my heart. We have three boys. Charlie, John T. and Rives. Folks often ask me, which of my books do I like the best. You might as well line up my sons and ask me who I love the most.

My hobbies are bow hunting, working out (a blend of old school stuff and martial arts, called Fight Fit) and Tae Kwon Do. In October 2012 I earned my black belt but I’m still the least flexible person you’ve ever met. The guy that trains me, laughs everytime I start warming up. My boys are far better at Tae Kwon Do than I but I doubt they have as much fun – I get to do and watch. They just do.

I also like to write, but that’s another story.”

I received a copy of this book without cost from the publisher through The Fiction Guild, a Thomas Nelson/Zondervan Elite Reader book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions expressed in this post are my own, or in this case, my mom’s.

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