Friday, March 29, 2013

Rereading True Grit by Charles Portis

True GritPeople do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father's blood, but it did not seem so strange then, although I will say it did not happen every day.

I read True Grit maybe two years ago, and just loved it. It's one of my favorite Westerns, with a great plot, and a great writing style. " It tells the story of Mattie Ross, a fourteen-year-old girl from Dardanelle, Arkansas, who sets out in the winter of eighteen seventy-something to avenge the murder of her father. Since not even Mattie (who is no self-doubter) would ride into Indian Territory alone, she "convinces" one-eyed "Rooster" Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshall, to tag along with her. As Mattie outdickers and outmaneuvers the hard-bitten types in her path, as her performance under fire makes them eat their words, her indestructible vitality and harsh innocence by turns amuse, horrify, and touch the reader. What happens-to Mattie, to the gang of outlaws unfortunate enough to tangle with her-rings with the dramatic rightness of legend and the marvelous overtones, the continual surprises, of personality.  "True Grit" is eccentric, cool, straight, and unflinching, like Mattie herself, who tells the story a half-century later in a voice that sounds strong and sure enough to outlast us all." 

I love all of the characters in this great and funny novel. Mattie narrates in an amazingly honest voice, and I have a feeling we'd get along well. She's got spunk, and she's determined to avenge her father's death, no matter which deputy says she can't come along. She makes a lot of funny and remarkably wise comments that ring completely true. 

Besides Mattie, the other characters are all really well drawn too. There's Rooster Cogburn, the marshal who grudgingly begins to respect Mattie. Then there's LaBoeuf (or something like that), a mean Texan who comes along for the ride. I'd forgotten about him, though of course I remembered Cogburn. He doesn't turn out to be that bad in the end though.

The description in this book is also amazing. It's sparse, but you can still picture the landscape in the book. And not just the landscape; it's the whole atmosphere that's created so well. The dialogue, the events, and basically everything about this book is compelling. I loved True Grit, and would highly, highly recommend it. I may watch the 1969 movie, which looks pretty good from a few clips I've seen.

Read True Grit:
  • if you like Westerns
  • if you like books with spunky heroines
  • if you've seen the movie
215 pages. 
Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!

No comments:

Post a Comment