Cover Image: The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All

The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All

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Member Reviews

Josh Ritter opens this book with a most impressive, creative, and flamboyant string of cursing that I have ever seen or heard.  He then proceeds with the tale of a young man and his hard life as orphan, lumberjack and survivor of the trials and tribulations of his long life.  An especially interesting look into the grit and guts required to be a lumberjack and work in this danger filled profession.
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If you're a fan of Josh Ritter's songwriting and have wished to enjoy his stories in a longer form, you might enjoy "The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All." Set in the fictional town of Cordelia, Idaho, the novel is narrated by 99-year old Weldon Applegate, the narrative switching between Weldon's present, and his youth in the timber town. As you'd expect from Josh RItter, there's sex and death and drinking and a whole lot of swearing, along with a fortune-telling witch, Prohibition agents, freight trains, and a demonic lumberjack named Linden Laughlin.
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I really enjoyed this book! I think it will appeal to readers who like a lyrical style of story telling and who are attracted to well told folktales.
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I love reading about times that are lost to history, and this one hit all of the right notes for me. It made me feel a nostalgia for something that I knew nothing about, and read like a legend, which who knows, perhaps it was.

I also really love reading about manly, masculine men, especially written by men, because they are so other to me - I find them fascinating - and you can't get much more stereotypically masculine than a lumberjack. Don't be fooled though, the characters are all complex and quirky. The main character, Weldon, is a real firecracker and the antagonist is portrayed SO WELL! Don't want to say too much more about it because I don't want to spoil anything.

The Great Glorious Goddamn of it All won't be for everyone, but I loved this book. The writing was beautiful - it made me laugh out loud in some parts and gasp in others. Thank you so much for the ARC, will definitely be suggesting this one to others.
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Weldon Applegate recounts his long life as the inheritor, owner, and ultimately, the protector of a stand of trees known as the Lost Lot. Within his remembrances, he chronicles the changes of a century, the character he meets, and in some cases, defends against reflecting the archetypes of the century. Weldon Applegate's life is a saga in the purest sense. It's worth working through the initial composition of the setting and time to appreciate Weldon's tale.
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Weldon is a 99-yeaer-old storyteller who is telling a gigantic tale from his hospital bed of his life from 13 year old to his present day. The tale centers on Linden Laughlin, a lumberjack extrardinare, or as Weldon says, "The best jack that had ever lived." Linden want to log The Lost Lot which Weldon's father owns. There is deaths, drinks, and many characters with unusual names -- Alright Edward, Unto Sisson, Overland Sam.  Plue there is a special drink called "Dream' created by Annie and Peg.
Read a unique tale of the Northern woods with all the characters, languages, and Dream.
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I was not enamored by this story. It was awkward where it should have been building the characters, the rivalry was kind of disappointing, and the dead guy was not a part of the story that was any type of enjoyable.
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If you get a kick out of listening to elderly people recount the adventures in their long lives, this book is for you. At 99, Weldon has some tales to tell. As he recounts his life as a lumberjack, and all the adventures and misadventures along the way, you are taken back in time and into the woods. This book is both about being a lumberjack, and also about so much more. It's funny and lyrical and overall a memorable tale.
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This book is clearly written by a songwriter- there are certain lines that seem to need to be set to melody. I love stories about times and days that are long gone. Lumberjacks are now for the most part legend and lore and it was so interesting reading about this family.
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I admit, I picked this tale because of the title. It reads like a memory poem mixed with an arthouse movie; and, although there is danger, violence, and seriousness it’s narrated with so much clever humor you won’t want to “put the book down”, but you also won’t want this story to reach an end.

The age of the lumberjacks is drawing to a close and one father and son are there as both participants and witnesses. This sprawling way of life is about to fade into history but not before being shared with the reader by a 99-year old narrator who tells his story in a way resembling a ribald folktale on steroids. 

If you are a fan of dark humor, tall tales, or just a (mostly) lost way of life, you should tear into this story and expect it to stick with you.
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This is a charming and quick read told from the perspective of a 99 year old Weldon Applegate as he reminisces about the "good ol' days" in the blink-and-you-miss-it logging town of Cordelia, Idaho.  3 parts tall tale to make his adventures sound more grandiose, 2 parts nostalgia, and 1 part creatively used profanity mixed well create a larger-than-life set of characters and shenanigans. 

The descriptions of the pristine Idaho woodlands evokes images of virgin forests that no longer exist in the United States outside of carefully protected areas. It was like taking a deep breath of pine scented mountain air. This, more than anything, brought life to the story.

While not for everyone, I highly enjoyed this book. 

Trigger Warnings: profanity, violence, references to sexual violence.
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I really enjoy memoirs and music and this book combined both of those.  An amazing story that is inspiration! Don't be afraid to follow your own path or goals!
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Weldon Applegate is a 99-year-old man from a tiny lumbering town in Idaho called Cordellia. Weldon tells his tales full of lumberjacks, rot gut/moonshine, murders, and the general roughness and rowdiness of a lumber town in the early 20th century. Along the way we learn of his current life living in a trailer on the Lost Lot. Very good writing, plot development, and character development. Good read.
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At the turn of the century, from the late 1800’s on, my grandfather logged his way across the United States and north into Canada. He owned his own company and my grandmother cooked for the crew. My mother was the last of their 17 children. All my uncles were lumberjacks. Many of their male children were jacks. My father married my mother and joined their ranks. They were tough untamed men with hearts as big as the forests they decimated.

I tell you this because I want you to know that when I tell you how authentic the voice in this novel by singer/songwriter Josh Ritter is, I know what I’m talking about.

From the Goodreads blurb: “In the tiny timber town of Cordelia, Idaho, ninety-nine year old Weldon Applegate recounts his life in all its glory, filled with tall tales writ large with murder, mayhem, avalanches and bootlegging. It’s the story of dark pine forests brewing with ancient magic, and Weldon’s struggle as a boy to keep his father’s inherited timber claim, the Lost Lot, from the ravenous clutches of Linden Laughlin.” 

From his hospital bed, the mythic Weldon Applegate moves back and forth in time narrating the two interwoven threads of his life.

One is the story of his youth and coming of age. His father, Tom, was a lumberjack who gave up logging for his mother. Upon his mother’s death, thirteen year old Weldon and his father moved to operate a store in the small timber town of Cordelia, Idaho. Tom had inherited the Lost Lot, a treacherous timber claim on a mountain just outside the town. They hadn't been there long when the legendary Linden Laughlin showed up and connived his way into their lives. Tom was seduced into breaking his vow to his wife and headed out logging the Lost Lot with Laughlin. He died on the mountain soon afterwards. The magnitude of Laughlin’s evil becomes obvious when, in an attempt at stealing Weldon's inheritance, he terrorizes Weldon and Sohvia, the Witch woman who lived with them. Once Weldon realizes he can’t sell the Lost Lot, he returns to Cordelia, gathers supplies and courage, and heads up the mountain to work with the crew.

In the story of his later years Weldon talks about his more recent mortal enemy, Joe Mouffreau, son of the original mill owner. Joe is a greedy braggart about 15 years younger than Weldon. “A lot of people had to perish to keep Joe’s war stories fresh, but it was a sacrifice that he was willing to make.” If the two of them are enemies in life, they represent conflict on a much larger scale. Theirs is difference in world views. It's the difference between integrity and deceit. It's the difference between generosity and greed. It's the difference between preserving the natural world and destroying it. Weldon, after working the mountain in his thirteenth year, never felled another tree on his land. He ended up giving it to a Nature Preservers group. In contrast, Joe clearcut the mountain he inherited from his father. 

Ritter’s beautifully crafted words transport the reader into an enchanted forest and logging town right smack in the middle of this coming of age tale. Along with Weldon, they get to figure out just what it means to be a hero. I wish I had Ritter's way with words to tell you how brilliant this books is. Weldon is as authentic a character as any I have ever read. He could well have been any of my relatives. Reading his story brought them back to me in all their rough hewn glory.
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Weldon Applegate has lived a long and colorful life, which he recounts while lying in his bed waiting to die.  Orphaned at 14, he takes control of his family's "cursed" land in Cordelia, Idaho and becomes a lumberjack, a profession which is incredibly dangerous.  There's a certain tall tale element to this, with an archenemy in Joe and lots of adventures.  And then there are the songs.   Know that this moves around a bit in time and gentle readers should be prepared for profanity.  Fans of this genre- elderly man reflecting on his life- will like this for the different setting and approach.  Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.  An entertaining read.
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Didn't quite know what I'd gotten into - and for the first hundred or so pages I wasn't sure I could stick with it.  

Then I was drawn by Weldon, his life and the strange assortment of characters he met.

Quick read - good get away novel.
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Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read an ARC of The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All!

Unfortunately, this book didn't really work for me. I found it hard to get into, and I didn't really connect with Weldon or his experiences. I couldn't really follow the storyline, and there was nothing that helped me feel any kinship with the characters. The story kind of winds around, and there doesn't seem to be any cohesion between the various pieces of it. 

I'm sure there are those out there who would enjoy this book, but it just wasn't for me.
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This is a hard book to pigeonhole. It is part adventure, part tall-tale, part memoir, part I-don’t-know-what. The story is glorious - it’s everything a little boy dreams of when wishing for an exciting life. Peopled with crazy, larger-than-life characters, a delightful protagonist, an awful arch nemesis, and plenty of wild and wooly action, this is a story to be told around a roaring fire.

I will also say, though, that this is a story with a slow burn. It moves along like a float down the river - faster at times, then a slow drift, and back again. This takes some persistence and attention in reading, but it is well worth the effort. As I was reading, the rhythm and the story often reminded me of David Wallace’s novel “Big Fish” and the subsequent Tim Burton film of the same name. I would love to see this story on film. Such fun!
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You won't find the tiny timber town of Cordelia, Idaho, anywhere except in ninety-nine year old Weston Applegate's memory, where the town is alive with bootlegging, murder, and a masculine mischief so common in tales of the Old West. Between Josh Ritter's capable hands, Weston's coming of age struggle to live up to his family legacy is smoothed into a new American myth: The Extinction of the Lumber Jacks. 
The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All fulfills the promises in the publisher's description. It's filled with adventure and humor cleverly framed at the start of every chapter by an old man's musings. Telling his story from his deathbed, Weston is charmingly thirteen and ninety-nine at once. His stories from his upbringing to his young adulthood to his ripened age feel so real, helped along by Ritter's voice. This feels like a book that you might be able to discuss in English literature classes alongside "The Luck of Roaring Camp" by Bret Harte.
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The protagonist of songwriter Josh Ritter’s second novel is ninety-nine-year-old Weldon Applegate, lying on his deathbed in a hospital. Tubes are coming out of his arms, and he is on oxygen. He seems to this reader to be passing in and out of consciousness.

When he is out of it, Weldon returns to the forests of Cordelia, Idaho, almost a century earlier; back to a time when he was a child and the Applegates were considered the best lumberjacks in the industry. When his head is clear, he recounts a life of murder, mayhem, avalanches, bootlegging and all sorts of axe-swinging adventures.

Weldon’s father, Tom, was a lumberjack who promised his wife that he'd stay safe and never jack again. After his wife dies, he and Weldon move to Cordelia, a town full of lumberjacks and near the Lost Lot, a cursed tract of land that Tom owns. Tom works in the town general store but finds himself making a deal with a larger-than-life lumberjack-of-legend, Linden Laughlin, who turns out to be a devil in disguise. Weldon tells us the whole story in tall-tale style from those times through when technology and industry take over.

The story structure follows Weldon’s mental state, moving from one adventure to another without any division. I found this hard to follow. The language is rough, but realistic for the time period. It didn’t bother me, but I just didn’t like the story. For me, the action moved a snail’s pace, but I think it was me and not the story. I wasn’t as drawn in as I had hoped to be, but I will admit to learning a lot about lumberjacking. Therefore, “The Great Glorious Goddam of It All” receives 2 out of 5 stars in Julie’s world.
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