True Grit by Charles Portis

A classic western that was dramatized by John Wayne in a film by the same name.  In this case, I saw the movie years before reading the book.  I haven’t read a western in years, not since indulging myself as a child in my father’s guilty pleasure, the Edge pulp fiction western series.  I picked this book up from the library after it was selected for a book club on Goodreads.  It is quite a change of pace for me, but a welcome one.  The character of Mattie Ross shows herself, like Rooster Cogburn, to have true grit.  This is Americana at its best.  All the determination and strength and loyalty that were values America held in high regard are displayed here.  The action is non-stop and the dialogue is well written and engaging.   This is a book that might not be popular today, not always politically correct, no romance at all, and the theme of retribution and justice served is not popular in this time of forgiveness themed books.

The very plain speaking, straight forward Mattie’s narration of the story lends an authentic air to the book.  You can visualize this stubborn, “old before her time”, no nonsense girl demanding nothing less than justice for the murder of her father.  The ending is perfect, not Hollywood perfect as it is not the ending of the John Wayne move, but perfect.  As an aside, John Wayne was the ideal Rooster Cogburn.

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