Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive” as Want to Read:
I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  2,634 Ratings  ·  418 Reviews
“Steve Earle brings to his prose the same authenticity, poetic spirit, and cinematic energy he projects in his music. I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive is like a dream you can’t shake, offering beauty and remorse, redemption in spades.” —Patti Smith

“Shot through with humor and insight and . . . enough action and intriguing characters in it to keep readers turning page
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Mariner Books (first published 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: BooknBlues
This sad, sweet, and often funny tale of an underground doctor among the down-and-out in San Antonio in the early 60’s won my heart over. Doc is a functional heroin addict who, after losing his license in Louisiana, lives in a boarding house where he sustains himself by ministering to the medical needs of folks on the wrong side of the law. This service is mostly care for injuries from alcohol fueled fights and abortions for poor women or prostitutes with no other recourse.

Everything changes for
No matter how I struggle and strive/
I’ll never get out of this world alive. – Hank Williams

Stop me if you have heard this one:

A defrocked morphine-addicted physician, his pusher (who is also his best friend), two hookers (who operate the Yellow Rose Resort Home, a hotel that also serves as brothel, emergency room, and abortion clinic), a mysterious teenaged Mexican girl (who is in the country illegally), and Hank Williams (well, not Hank exactly, but his ghost) walk into a bar.

The punch line is
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Steve Earle is a problem for many a blue collar Republican. He started out making music by looking and sounding a lot like them, his songs about making a better life, patriotism, love won and lost, and God, resonated and they were hooked. Mostly they still are, only along the way Earle's experiences of heroin addiction and prison altered his perspective as his life was touched by injustice and the oppressed. He couldn't ignore it.
His brilliant first book, Doghouse Roses, comprised of short stori
Lisa Reads & Reviews

Grammy award winner, singer/songwriter Steve Earle named this novel after his 14th studio album released in 2011. He has acted in roles on television and in movies. While I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive is his first novel, Earle has also written a play and a book of short stories. To be honest, I hadn't heard of him before reading his novel, so my opinion is only swayed by having read about him on Wiki, and liking his anti-war, anti-death penalty, etc views. The man has led a colorful lif
Mar 07, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Now I know why people say that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. I literally had to fight my way through the book, but I just couldn't force myself to read the last 30 pages.
What I expected the book to be like: a poetic, interesting novel about a Mexican girl who emigrates to the United States and finds herself surrounded by surreal, neurotic people and ghosts. Steve Earle is a songwriter, so I expected the book to be deep and inspirational.
What it really was like: such a disappointment.
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Steve Earle fans

I am a big fan of Steve Earle's music, so I had to read his first novel. It was OK.

The ghost of Hank Williams haunts the renegade Doc Ebersole, who kept Hank somewhat alive until he didn't. Doc is a bum, a doctor who has lost his license and lives on the edge of a Texas town. He gets by providing abortions and other medical services to skid row characters who for various reasons can't or won't go to a hospital. He is also a drug addict who kicks and is kept alive by a young Mexican girl-a sort-o
I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive is like that lunch your mother used to make you in 5th grade. Maybe it wasn't the best or most delicious in all the lunchroom, but it was made with love and frugal thoughtfulness, neatly wrapped in a brown paper bag.

While Earle's writing is in no way groundbreaking or wholly original in its style and contents, it's pure, it's crisp, it's clean and it's from the heart. I was amazed by the depth and redemption of his characters, the lush moral contrast of th
Scott Freeman
Feb 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-books
This is my early front-runner for my favorite book of 2011 and truly one of the best novels I've read in years. Doc Ebersole is a down on his luck physician. Having been one of Hank William's last friends and physicians he has watched his life fall into an extreme state of disrepair. Strung out on heroin and having lost his medical license he spends his days shooting up and his nights performing illegal abortions in the most desolate street in San Antonio. All the while he is haunted by the ghos ...more
May 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hope Personified

A failed doctor whose career has crashed into the drudgery of drug abuse fueled by backroom abortions performed at a whorehouse back room in 1960’s Texas might sound like a grim tale. And it is. However beautiful young healer recently arrived from Mexico joins forces with the doc. As she comes to love him while learning his healing trade she also works magic on the drug addicted hookers they treat. One by one they stop their addictions and give up hooking returning to a better li
Jun 26, 2012 rated it liked it
What do you say about a book where you can rattle off at least a few flaws, but still happily devoured and enjoyed? That would be this one. The characters are almost representations of a kind of person instead of an actual 3D character, which gives the story an almost fable-like feel. Considering the themes, this may have been conscious and appropriate. I was a little iffy on the motivations of some of the characters, as well as some of the dialogue, but Earle really spun an enjoyable yarn into ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Long Walk: Slavery to Freedom
  • The French Admiral (Alan Lewrie, #2)
  • The Rose of the World (Hawkenlye Mysteries #13)
  • Little Rabbit and the Meanest Mother on Earth
  • Orientation: And Other Stories
  • Moanin' at Midnight: The Life and Times of Howlin' Wolf
  • Hardcore Troubadour: The Life and Near Death of Steve Earle
  • Odd Velvet
  • Shadow Pass (Inspector Pekkala #2)
  • Apathy for the Devil: A 1970s Memoir
  • Horace and Morris but Mostly Dolores (Horace and Morris and Dolores, #1)
  • Winter Brothers: A Season at the Edge of America
  • The Cloud Atlas
  • Catching the Westbound
  • West of Here
  • How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life
  • Six and a Half Deadly Sins (Dr. Siri Paiboun #10)
  • Galore
Steve Earle is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, author, political activist, and Grammy Award winner.
More about Steve Earle...
“Lonely's a temporary condition, a cloud that blocks out the sun for a spell and then makes the sunshine seem even brighter after it travels along. Like when you're far away from home and you miss the people you love and it seems like you're never going to see them again. But you will, and you do, and then you're not lonely anymore.
Lonesome's a whole other thing. Incurable. Terminal. A hole in your heart you could drive a semi truck through. So big and so deep that no amount of money or whiskey or pussy or dope in the whole goddamn world can fill it up because you dug it yourself and you're digging it still, one lie, one disappointment, one broken promise at a time.”
“She more than likely came from good enough people. Poor, honest, hard-working folks that never got ahead but did all right as long as they kept their heads down and didn't study too much on what they didn't have.” 3 likes
More quotes…