Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Selection for the #1968 Club: True Grit by Charles Portis

Here we are at November! I'm excited to be taking part in the 1968 Club, hosted by Stuck in a Book and Kaggsy's Bookish Ramblings

When trying to decide what to read, I learned that I don't own many books from 1968. The first book I chose was A Small Town in Germany by John le Carre, but there was something about the events in the book that reminded me of what's currently going on in the news, and I had to put the book down. I plan to go back to the novel another day. 

My second choice was True Grit by Charles Portis. The Western genre has never really appealed to me, but there was something about the story that intrigued me when I read the opening:

"People do not give 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 was just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shot my father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robbed him of his life and his horse and $150 in cash money plus two California gold pieces that he carried in his trouser band. "

True Grit is the story of Mattie Ross, the fourteen year old leaves home to find a marshal to take her into Indian territory to locate Tom Chaney, the man who murdered her father. The story takes place in the 1870s, but Mattie looks back on that time and recounts the story as an older woman in her '80s.

Mattie is a wonderful heroine--determined, funny, wise and an expert business woman. She has no qualms about getting everything in writing. As she uses her wits in some extraordinary circumstances in dealing with the colorful characters she encounters, she also battles nature, bats and rattlesnakes (Which I didn't expect--not a fan of rattlesnakes.) 

Mattie also has to deal with the challenging Marshal Rooster Cogburn. Because of the first True Grit film, I've always associated Rooster Cogburn with John Wayne, but in the novel Rooster is completely different. He's in his late forties, overweight, and forever needing a bath. He spends most of his time drinking. He also as a huge mustache. 

Mattie's experiences an incredible journey. She has her confrontation with Tom Chaney, but it doesn't go as planned, and she pays a price. I found the novel to be suspenseful, humorous, and at times poignant. 

I enjoyed reading Mattie's story and highly recommend True Grit.

1 comment:

  1. I've seen movie versions of this story but have never read the book. Truthfully, I never even thought about reading the book. I don't know why. 'Cause it sounds like a good read. Might have to add it to my 2018 reading list. :)