Book Review: The Great Glorious Goddamn Of It All

“Memory has a way of growing things, of improving them. The hardships get harder, the good times get better and the whole damn arc of life takes on a mystic glow that only memory can give it.”

“The Great Glorious Goddamn Of It All”, by Josh Ritter

I’m delighted to join the Blog Tour of “The Great Glorious Goddamn Of It All” by Josh Ritter. Many thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours, the publishers Hanover Square Press and Harper360, and of course the author for organising the tour and gifting me a copy of the book.

At the start of “The Great Glorious Goddamn of it All”, by Josh Ritter, Weldon Applegate is ninety-nine years old and in hospital following a run-in with his arch enemy. Looking back over his life, we learn of his early years with his father Tom, moving to Cordelia, Idaho, following the death of his mother. Tom Applegate made a promise to his wife that he would leave his life as a lumberjack behind when they married, and on returning to logging country he only intends to run the town store. But then Linden Laughlin, famed jack, walks into their lives, and tempts Tom into working the Lost Lot – the timber claim he inherited from his own father (who in turn won it in a game of cards).

But disaster isn’t far away, and Tom is killed by a falling tree within 2 weeks of setting off to work the claim with Linden. Young Weldon is left with the choice of giving up the lot, or working it himself. What follows is a brilliant coming-of-age story, with Weldon determined to live up to his great lumberjacking ancestry amidst the beautiful but deadly American West and a fading way of life.

This was a 5-star read for me! Narrated by Weldon himself, and moving between his life in the present and his memories of the past, the story reads like a great American fable.

“Fact is, when you live to be ninety-nine, you pretty much got the living part down. There ain’t no one else that’s lived ninety-nine years that has lived a life that’s less full than mine. It doesn’t matter if they’ve travelled the World or stayed in one place. Ninety-nine years is ninety-nine years! Life comes at you, special delivery.”

When writing a book review, I generally write down nice or interesting quotes to use as my introduction to the post. In the case of this book, I could have written down a hundred… It’s very clear that Josh Ritter is also an acclaimed singer-songwriter, as his use of language is really beautiful, and by turns hilarious and heart-breaking. I was also very pleased to find that the Audible version of the book (narrated by the author himself) included a recording of the song mentioned in the story, Some Somewhere!

I’d highly recommend this book to fans of the American West, coming-of-age stories, and anyone looking for an uplifting, joyful read.

Pages: 296
Published: 16th September 2021
Rating: 🐈🐈🐈🐈🐈/5

About the author

Photo credit: Laura Wilson

Josh Ritter is a songwriter from Moscow, Idaho. His albums include The Animal Years and So Runs the World Away. Bright’s Passage is his first novel. He lives in New York.

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