True Grit

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You find yourself on the first page of True Grit and are welcomed by this opening paragraph:

People 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 was just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name 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.

What a spunky lady! The opening passage prepares you for the woman you are about to meet. Mattie Ross, a no-nonsense, practical, smart-as-a-whip woman of fourteen who’s out to avenge her father’s death. She goes through life as if it were a series of obstacle courses that she can overcome by her intelligence and quick thinking. She never wallows in self pity and somehow doesn’t fully realize the enormity of the situations she finds herself in. And this is what makes her the heroine she is!

Sample her take on whiskey (or intoxication in general):

“I would not put a thief in my mouth to steal my brains.”

Her deadpan retorts are especially funny when you imagine her in all her seriousness.

The book lays before you on a platter a generous serving of shootings, hangings and brawls with a nonchalance defying the gravity of said situations. This is a story of the Wild West that’s filled with drama, humor and a touch of romance. It’s a book for everyone, one of the best novels ever. The author, Charles Portis, is an exceptional writer.

To strengthen my case for True Grit, I present to you an excerpt from a rare review (as per this Telegraph article) by Roald Dahl:

“True Grit is the best novel to come my way for a very long time. I was going to say it was the best novel to come my way since…Then I stopped. Since what? What book has given me greater pleasure in the last five years? Or in the last 20? I do not know. I expect some have, but I cannot recall them right now. Marvellous it is. He hasn’t put a foot wrong anywhere. What a writer!”

Need I say more?

 

Recommended for: Everyone

Rating: 9.1/ 10