Long Way Gone
I know you have heard me say it before. Reading for fun is a luxury right now, but then again, I've been in that kind of rut for awhile now. So sad. So very sad.
Of course, I do some reading for work. There's not only the projects we work on, but those we don't. It's my job to screen potential projects. Sometimes, that's a chore when it comes to some self-published releases. I was going through a bad run of some of those recently when I was able to take a break to read because I wanted to read. I finally got Net Galley access to one of my favorite authors and get his book before it released. I wasn't patient either. There was a waiting/wish list for Charles Martin's Long Way Gone.
It was such a relief to dive smoothly into good writing. (Good editing for that matter too.) Witty writing. A flow from the first page.
Before I get deeper into my review, let's start off with the back cover copy. I have some projects to letter, so why re-create the wheel in retelling the story?
MORE ABOUT LONG WAY GONE:
“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.
Earlier I was telling the Lori, the owner of Fiction Addict that I would have this review into her tonight. She wasn't familiar with the author, so I was trying to explain.
Charles Martin writes in the genre similar to Nicholas Sparks. This didn't catch Lori's attention because she is not a fan of Sparks outside of The Notebook. Just note that I said similar genre. However, he writes more male friendly. Not as girly. Not without the tragicness, but there has to be some conflict, right?
One of the differences though is that every story doesn't take place in the Carolinas. That's a big deal. As I mentioned the wittiness to the writing is different. Charles Martin is also a better researcher, giving more depth to his main characters and their passions. Lots of details.
You will be able to vividly picture Cooper's surroundings on the mountain in Colorado and what it's like to be on stage at the Ryman in Nashville. Or at the local "watering hole" singing with the band.
The cover copy says it's a modern take on the story of the prodigal son. It is to a degree, but then, it isn't. If I told why though, it would be a spoiler.
The story starts off in present time when Cooper spots someone from his past. It's been a long time since he's seen Daley Cross, and there's definitely a story there. Chapters alternate between Cooper's present day situation and his retelling of past events. From the start, Cooper reveals that for the past twenty years he has been suffering (and healing) from a tragic event, and you have to hang with him to find out what happened. I have to say, I didn't really predict what it was even though you know it's what drove he and Daley apart. Plus there are some other little surprises sprinkled in.
The one problem I had with the book is that in one section, it felt like the author got some of his information and inspiration from watching episodes of ABC's Nashville. At one point, it got just a little too much Julianne and Avery.
Despite my anticipation which can often lead to disappointment, in the end, it didn't let me down.