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.
“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.”
It is very rare that I give a book a 5-star review, but I have to tell you that I had no qualms whatsoever about rating Long Way Gone by Charles Martin with a full 5 stars. I can quite honestly say that this is one of the best books that I have read in a very long time, and the reasons are many.
First, it was penned beautifully. It had an almost soft, rhythmic feel to it, and while it wasn’t an “exciting” or suspenseful novel, it kept me coming back to it, even when I should have been doing other things. It is a slow start, at least compared to some, but you understand why as you work your way through the story.
Secondly, the characters were very relatable. They weren’t perfect fairy-tale people; each person had their own passions, interests, heartaches, and lessons to learn. To put it bluntly, they were people just like you and me.
The descriptive way Mr. Martin wrote about people, places, and music were perfect. He didn’t get bogged down in technicalities, but had enough in-depth descriptions to let you know that he knew exactly what he wanted to convey, and he succeeded at it well.
Lastly, I think it touched my heart because I could relate to the main topic of the story, which was the love a parent has for their child … even when things aren’t picture perfect. So many parents have a “prodigal child” of their own, and unless you have lived (or are living) it, it is hard to understand where those emotions can take you. When your heart is broken and full of worry, and when you feel like prayer is your last hope of bringing them home, all you are left with is the knowledge that God has not deserted them – or you. You have to take comfort in that, because it’s all you have left.
So to my precious daughter, if you are somewhere reading this, I leave you with this quote from the book that says it all:
“If you have found yourself in a storm where the sky is black and lightning has set fire to the world around you; if you are afraid, hurting, or maybe your hope is sucked dry, then remember that fearless kid who emptied himself on the piano bench and … let it out. Don’t let the fear of what might be rob you of the promise of what can.
I love you. Always have. No gone is too far gone.”
From the back cover:
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.
I cannot recommend Long Way Gone highly enough. Pick up your copy … you won’t regret it!
Sincere thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers and the TNZ Fiction Guild for providing me with a complimentary copy to read and review. Opinions and thoughts are 100% my own, and are in no way influenced by the author or publisher.