January 02, 2012

True Grit by Charles Portis

So I absolutely loved this movie when it came out a little while ago so I was really eager to read this book. And it was a good book. I actually liked the movie better, but the book was still very good.

Mattie has come to town to seek vengeance on her father's murderer. She hires a drunk Marshall known as Rooster Cogburn to catch the criminal and insists on setting out with him on the journey. They are joined by Texas Ranger LaBoeuf who also wants to catch this criminal for other reasons. But the woods are a rough place and the criminal in with a bad crowd. Mattie may just be in the way but she's determined to see the venture through.

Mattie is a very strong character. She knows what she wants and she's willing to do anything to get her way. She is also very astute in her business dealings. She makes a nice pair with Cogburn who is mostly gruff and at times humorous in his drinking. But as the book is about, he has grit. LaBoeuf I actually don't care for as much and I really don't think he adds a whole lot to the book. The bad guys are kind of tame in this book as well.

I like the notion of Mattie avenging her father and having an adventure. Its not your typical western with the damsel in distress. Its also not as gruff as a lot of westerns so its an easy read in that aspect as well. Its definitely a quick read as you get so caught up in the story that it just flys right on by. My only complaint would be that there is not a whole ton of detail, and that could account for some of the quickness in the book.

But as Westerns go, this is a great one. I highly recommend both the book and the movie.

True Grit
Copyright 1968
190 pages

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