#Keyword Reading Challenge January: Charles Martin’s “Long Way Gone”

It’s time to check in with the #Keyword Reading Challenge 2017!




I’ve just finished my first book of the year:  Charles Martin’s Long Way Gone.  I recommend it highly!

I discovered Charles Martin last year when I read his phenomenal Water From My Heart.  He’s an incredible storyteller with a wonderful voice.  Mr. Martin deftly unfolds a story to take you places you never imagined that you would go.  His characters, and their stories, are captivating.  January’s #Keyword Reading Challenge 2017 keywords are Court, Fall, Of, Way, Deep, Thousand.  Lots of books out there with those words in the title…but I was thrilled when my copy of Long Way Gone arrived from the library.  Perfect timing for sure.

The story:

Long Way Gone is the story of accomplished musical prodigy Cooper O’Connor.  Raised in the Colorado mountains by his widowed father, Cooper spent his early years traveling around with his dad and Big-Big (their friend and coworker who’s also a former convict).  His father, an honest and godly man, preached the gospel in and around Colorado, and they traveled in the family pickup, listening to and singing along with the radio.  One night, during a service held under a terrific thunder and lightning storm, they discovered that Cooper was enormously and amazing gifted as a musician.  He joins in playing for the services with his dad and Big-Big, and life is good.  He revels in the opportunity to play with his dad, hone his abilities and skills, and praise God.

Yet as he grows up, he notices that he is the really talented one of the trio; the one that people really come to see.  He wants to sign with one of the agents who approaches him, but his dad tells him to wait til he’s older, and to know that the agents really just want what they can get out of him.  Rebellion grows in him, til the day that he takes his dad’s pickup, his favorite guitar, and all the money they have, and heads to Nashville.

Like the prodigal son, Cooper has a hard road ahead of him.  Poverty.  Digging in the trash.  Loss of the things he holds most dear.  But he also has opportunity, in the form of another singer who’ll be the song to his instrument, and he meets her in the form of Daley Cross, up-and-coming star.  The two of them together might just change the music world forever…if Cooper can survive what’s coming.

What I thought:

I was hooked on this story from the very first chapter, where an older (and somewhat wiser) Cooper sees an older Daley (in the form of a hitchhiker).  Life has left a mark on Cooper, and it’s a mark that seems very likely to steal that life from him.

It’s not just Cooper’s story, though.  We come to know his incredible, faithful, loving father.  Big-Big, who got a second chance from Cooper’s dad and held onto it with both hands.  Delicate, trusting Daley, who’s enormously gifted but oh-too-malleable in the hands of others.  Is redemption possible for all of them?

You’ll have to read Long Way Gone to find out.  But I can tell you that I would read this book again and again.  In fact, I blew through it so fast the first time, because I just couldn’t put it down, that I’d read it again just to lovingly wander through Cooper’s story once more.

I think, when you read it, you’ll feel the same!

Hop over to January’s #Keyword Reading Challenge 2017!

Scores of other bloggers will be linking up and reading other books that have this month’s keywords in it.  Click on the button below so you can find some more awesome reads to add to your own list!

Enjoy!  –Wrenkeyword-challenge-january



4 thoughts on “#Keyword Reading Challenge January: Charles Martin’s “Long Way Gone”

  1. I am putting this on hold at my library right away! Sounds like a good book. Thanks for reviewing it for us!

    I found you through the #keywordreadingchallenge New to that and somewhat new to blogging! Can’t wait to see more of your reviews!

    • Oh, I just loved it! Charles Martin is one of our family’s favorite authors–someone that both my husband and I enjoy reading. LMK what you think if you get a chance to read it. And welcome to the blogging world! 🙂

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