Charles Portis' TRUE GRIT
Book review by Dennis D. McDonald
I’ve never seen the True Grit movies. Till I ran across this book at a yard sale I was never even aware of the novel’s existence. But when you need a Western, as I sometimes do, this appears to be just what the doctor ordered.
I was not disappointed. My son had just given me a tour of the Red Dead Redemption video game and I must admit I was in the mood for cowboy stuff.
The story: a 14 year old girl hires a mean old ranger to help her track down and “bring to justice” the former hired hand who killed her father. The novel is told in the girl’s voice and follows the chase through town and (mostly) country. Details of atmosphere, color, weather, language, custom, and culture are sprinkled so liberally throughout the novel that by the end you have to shake your head in wonder at the research and craft that have gone into writing this taut, engaging, and often funny story.
Make no mistake, though, this is not a warm and fuzzy tale. Death lurks around every corner. But the characters shine. Plus, by the end you’ll never be able to think about “corn dodgers” without smiling!
Review copyright 2011 by Dennis D. McDonald