Category: Western

Nov 06

Yeehaw! True Grit by Charles Portis

Coming of Age, Western 26

Howdy Bookworms,

I know it’s Wednesday and I don’t normally post, but since I didn’t do a Top Ten Tuesday yesterday, I figured I’d get a little crazy. (Yes, doing thing off schedule qualifies as “crazy” in my world. Don’t judge.) You never know what you’ll like if you never try anything new, right? I thought it might be fun for me to branch out and read something out of my comfort zone. Sarah at Sarah Says Read RAVED about how awesome True Grit was a while back, so it’s been on my radar ever since.

truegritTrue Grit was my first Western (well, my first Western that didn’t have Harlequin stamped on the cover… We all have our vices.) It had all the elements I expected: horses, pistols, cowboy hats, campfires, harmonicas… It was the geography of it all that surprised me a little bit. When I think “Western,” I think the Southwest- California, Arizona, New Mexico. True Grit took place in Arkansas and Oklahoma. It’s not like it didn’t make sense, it’s just that… Well. Tumbleweeds. You know?

Lack of tumbleweeds aside, I freaking LOVED Mattie Ross! This little half pint is one of the strongest female narrators I’ve ever read. Mattie is 14 years old and has left her home to claim her father’s body. Because, you know, that’s a totally appropriate task for a 14 year old girl. Her father was murdered by his hired hand Tom Chaney, and Mattie isn’t ABOUT to let that punk get away with it.

Powered by pure gumption, Mattie Ross recruits federal marshal Rooster Cogburn to help her bring Chaney to justice. Mattie is stubborn, sassy, and strong. She’s also got a great storytelling voice. There was a point in the novel where Mattie and Rooster were waiting for a troupe of bandits to show up. Rooster tries to kill the time by telling Mattie his life story, and things started getting a little long… Just as I was getting bored with Rooster’s story, Mattie breaks in and says that she fell asleep for a while and when she woke up, he was still talking. Ha! LOVE!

Now, while I simply adored Mattie, I’m still not sure I’m sold on the whole Western concept. Mattie will go down as one of my favorite characters ever, but True Grit probably won’t make my list of favorite novels ever. I suppose cowboy lore isn’t really my cup of tea. Still, if you want to read an AWESOME female lead? You need to meet Ms. Mattie Ross.

Okey dokey, Bookworms. Mattie Ross isn’t alone out there in literature land. Who are some of your favorite young female leads? Talk to me!

*If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of True Grit for yourself, please consider using this link. 9 out of 10 mamas won’t let their babies grow up to be cowboys, but they all want me to keep my reading habit funded. My affiliation with Book Depository nets me a small chunk of the proceeds of any sales I send their way.*

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