©1968 Charles Portis; (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC
"Charles Portis is perhaps the most original, indescribable sui generis talent overlooked by literary culture in America." (Esquire)
“Tom Wolfe, who worked with Portis as a reporter at the New York Herald-Tribune in the early 1960s called him – the original laconic cutup. A generation of novelists since then have simply regarded him as a writers-writer and have made his name a sort of secret password. Soon, they’ll no longer have him to themselves.” (Rolling Stone Magazine)
“Like Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man, Charles Portis’s True Grit captures the nanve elegance of the American voice.” (Jonathan Lethem)
Anyone who has seen either film version of the novel will be pleased with the book. The films follow closely to the novel. The story keeps moving along and even when you know what's going to happen, you're still compelled to listen a little longer. The reader does an excellent job and, though I'm not an expert on Arkansas accents, she seems to have it down perfectly. All the characters she read were well done. If you want an entertaining book to pass the time on a long car ride, this is it.
I've seen both movies of this book, but Donna Tart's telling of this amazing story is so much better. Portis's colorful language used to describe the characters, their relationships and the events they experience makes for delightful listening. I'm following Ms. Tart's advice in the essay at the end of the audiobook - to make listening to this story a family tradition.
I love love love The Goldfinch but honestly Donna needs to stick to writing and not narrating. I was so distracted that all I could hear was swallowing and lipsmacking and every mouth sound there it is. Story ok but narration so distracting. So glad it's over.
First I have to say how amazed I was that the John Wayne movie was so true to the book! I noted only one or two exceptions but it has been a while since I've seen the movie. I know this book is considered a classic but the writing style irritated me, especially all the dialogue that started with "He said," or "I said," back and forth, over and over again. Perhaps the author did that to make it feel more like the recounting of the protagonist many years after the event, I don't know because this is my first Charles Portis book. I also had to listen to it at 1.25x speed but there are times I wish I could speed up family members I'm talking to as well. Overall a good western story with a fair amount of women's equality thrown in.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (western fiction) - You probably saw the movie with John Wayne playing U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn. Mattie Ross, a young teenager, hires him to help find the man who killed her father. As they meander together through the wild west, it becomes hard to tell which of them possesses the most "true grit."
I know this is a beloved story that has withstood the test of time, but I found it pretty slow. Mattie is smart and spunky, and she manages to hold her own with men several times her age. I liked her character and I liked watching her relationship develop with Rooster, but I often found my mind wandering. It gets pretty exciting at the end, but I didn't care for the death of a sweet animal and I didn't like the part with the snakes. I hate snakes!
I don't know why the author failed to use contractions in this book, but it seemed strange to constantly hear "I can not" and "I am not," as opposed to "can't" and "ain't." Similarly, I don't understand the use of "said he" or "said I" as opposed to "he said" or "I said." It all sounded kind of stilted for a work of western fiction.
PERFORMANCE - This female narrator had an age-appropriate voice for Mattie and gave her a cute southern accent, but the performance goes downhill from there. She made a valiant attempt to perform various cowboy-type characters, but most of them sounded pretty awful. Her tempo wasn't constant, and some characters spoke painfully slow. And don't get me started about all the lip smacking as she opened and closed her mouth! I know I'm in the minority here about this performance...
OVERALL - (Actual overall rating 2.5) There is no sex or cursing. There is the type of action and shootouts one would expect of cowboy fiction. This book would probably be best for guys or gals from about 13 to adult, although I personally am not a big fan.
I wanted to like this a whole lot. As a rule, I only download books with high ratings on Audible and this one's got good reviews and I have seen both versions of the movie.
The book is written as a first-person, narrated account of events and it is written in a formal (schooled) style of prose (i.e. no contractions) that is realistic and appropriate to the young narrator's sassy character and personality and to the time. But in Donna Tartt's hands dialogue between characters often becomes monotonous and it loses spontaneity and any lightness, in my opinion. To me it often sounded as if she was reading a phone book.
One cannot fault the narrator for her love of this story. True Grit is beautifully written with wit, grace, and drama. This recounting of a 14 year old girl's adventures were, however, read as if by a 14 year old girl. There was little characterization afforded to other figures voiced in this story, with plodding rather than fluid accounting of the dialog. The narrator can almost be forgiven when she reveals her lifelong love of the book in the opening of an essay at the end, but even this essay takes a turn towards a tedious accounting of the plot in the style of a 14 year old's book report. My recommendation: a paperback would be a better investment.
Enjoy traveling and road trips around the US and listening to audiobooks while on the road.
I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. Mattie's journey alongside the lawmen is adventuresome and painful. This is well written story that keeps you wanting to know what happens next.
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