Book Review: Long Way Gone

6 Apr

“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.

(In the author’s own words) 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.

You can learn more about Charles Martin at


My Impressions:

A few days ago I posted on FB that Long Way Gone by Charles Martin was one of the best books I have ever read. Quite an assertion, I agree. But this part coming-of-age, part love story, part parable, conveys beautiful truths while immersing its reader fully into the story. Martin is an excellent story-teller and has proven it over and over again. But I think Long Way Gone goes one step further. Maybe it is the subject matter or maybe it is the characters that immediately capture your heart. Or maybe it is the underlying truths of God’s love and care for His children. Whatever the element, the magic is there.

Cooper is a musical prodigy who soon becomes the draw for his father’s tent revivals. Hundreds of people come from far and wide to hear his song. But he soon comes to believe that he is indeed something special and rejects his father’s way of life — striking out to find his own way, a way that shuns not only his father but God.

Long Way Gone is a retelling of the Prodigal Son. This is an emotional story filled with song that shows the depths of God’s love. Martin expertly describes just how far a person can fall and just how deep a father’s love can be. Characters are complex and real. The first person account from Cooper holds nothing back as he journeys from cocky kid to a wiser, yet resigned adult. The supernatural becomes natural as well under Martin’s deft hand. The ending will surprise and delight and cause not a few tears. I have been recommending this novel to all because while on the surface it is a great story, it also conveys the truth of God’s love and care even while letting us suffer the consequences of our own actions. Be sure to read the Afterword — insights into Coop’s story as well as the beliefs of the author are revealed. There were a lot of things that hit home with me as I was reading Long Way Gone. One thing that resonated over and over was that we are made to worship, and we need to be very careful what we choose as the object of our worship.

For those who love music, for those who love great characters, for those who want to be touched and challenged, for those who have a prodigal in their life, Long Way Gone is a must read.

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased Long Way Gone from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


6 Responses to “Book Review: Long Way Gone”

  1. marlin72 April 6, 2017 at 8:21 am #

    I readbthis book as well and totally agree with you that it is one of the best books that I have read this year. Characters are real and believable and touched me in so many ways. Charles Martin continues tobwrite stories that shouldn’t be missed.

    • rbclibrary April 6, 2017 at 8:22 am #

      I so agree with you!! Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

  2. Barbara H. April 6, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

    I reviewed this last year and loved it for many of the reasons you mention.

    • rbclibrary April 7, 2017 at 11:55 am #

      I have enjoyed all of Martin’s novels. He is a very talented author.


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