Raylan by Elmore Leonard

One of the books from the 9gag Reading Challenge is to read a book set in your hometown. I sort of grew up back and forth between two small towns in Kentucky, but I was born in Harlan, Kentucky, and my dad stayed there when my parents divorced so I was in and out of Harlan all through my childhood.

Harlan is a really tiny town with a population of less than 2,000. Really nothing of note happens there other than closing coal mines and a drug problem spiraling out of control. Probably no one outside of the hills of Eastern Kentucky ever heard of Harlan. That is, until the channel FX began airing the show Justified, based on Elmore Leonard’s short story “Fire in the Hole.”

I began watching the show when it first aired in 2010 out of morbid curiosity. Why was there a show on TV about this nowhere town I grew up in hidden away from the rest of society in the “back hollers”, as they say, of the Appalachian Mountains? I admit, I was immediately hooked. Some of the actors portraying the people of Eastern Kentucky were so good I was convinced they actually plucked people out of Harlan itself and put them on TV. Sure, there were issues – for instance they would travel from Harlan to Lexington, Kentucky in about 10 minutes, when in real life that trip would be pushing about 3 hours. Regardless, it was a great show and I’m sad to see it go, as it just recently wrapped it’s final season.

So, yeah yeah stop blabbing about TV, this is supposed to be about a book right? I know, I’m getting to that. So when I saw this challenge I knew immediately I had to read Raylan by Elmore Leonard, which happens to be his last work before he passed away. This is a novel based on the show that was based on his short story. Kind of an odd circle of life.


Knowing how much I love the show, I was really excited to read this book. It is really nothing more than US Marshall Raylan Givens fighting the crime of Harlan, Kentucky.

The first thing I noticed while reading this was how extremely bored I was with it. I thought maybe I was having a bad day, so I put it down and came back to it the next. I continued to find myself bored with it and essentially put it down and never could bring myself to pick it back up. I made about halfway through at that point, and finally after about a month of this picked it back up and went through a marathon speed reading session to finally put myself out of the misery.

And the weird thing is I really wouldn’t even say the book is bad, per se…. just not very interesting. It might have to do with the fact that the stories were based on episodes of the show, so I really already knew the outcome to most of it. It was also more like three short stories pressed together and made into one, which left me feeling disoriented.

Now, usually I’m pretty favorable on things and go pretty easy on stuff. I liked Twilight for crying out loud, if that tells you anything. So I thought surely if I’m feeling this strongly about it the rest of the world is too. But to my surprise it has received pretty favorable reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. So maybe I’m the odd girl out on this one.

And now for the crochet!

I was so disinterested in the book that I not only had a serious lack of motivation to crochet anything from it, I also had a serious lack of motivation to write this review (I finished reading it over three weeks ago!). But I finally mustered up the nerve to try to make something, anything, just to finally get this book in my past and move on. Well I tried stars for the US Marshall badge, I did several attempts at Raylan’s signature hat… everything was a flop. So I finally give with this final version of the hat, that doesn’t look quite like I’d like it too, and definitely isn’t the right color since I don’t have any light brown yarn.



And there you have it. I’m so behind on reading at this point that I really fear my ability to read 50 by the end of the year. Life has been kind of crazy lately, I got a promotion at the company I work for which has come with different hours and time off, for some reason though I know it’s not true, I feel like my free time has vanished somehow! Anyway I hope to be able to make up my lost reading time, especially since my local library has a kick-ass summer reading program that is going to be starting soon.

Read –  I don’t even remember
Goodreads Reading Challenge – 6 books down, 44 to go
9gag’s Reading Challenge – A book that takes place in your hometown
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

 Has anyone else experienced this lack of motivation with a book?