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Publisher's Summary

Mattie Ross, a 14-year-old girl from Dardanelle, Arkansas, sets out to avenge her Daddy who was shot to death by a no-good outlaw. Mattie convinces one-eyed "Rooster" Cogburn, the meanest U.S. marshal in the land, to ride along with her. In True Grit, we have a true American classic, as young Mattie, as vital as she is innocent, outdickers and outmaneuvers the hard-bitten men of the trail in a legend that will last through the ages.
©1968 Charles Portis; (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

GRITTY PERFORMANCE

Totally delightful. The book's charm and appeal derives from a 1st person narrative by a young girl and Tartt gives a masterful performance in the narration.Mattie Ross rarely tries to be funny.She just is.The outlaws and lawmen are far from one dimensional. Either can say of the other............"there but for the grace of God or the temptations of the Devil go I."
Or....."been there,done that".............Both movie versions were pretty close to the book.
But hearing the book read is a completely different experience.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The world needs more Mattie Rosses!

This is a story about a fourteen-year-old girl who sets out to avenge her father's murder in the declining days of the Wild West. Mattie Ross browbeats everyone from horse traders to Texas Rangers to outlaws, refuses to take 'No' for an answer, and while she's not fearless, she never lets fear stop her.

Both True Grit movies are great, but read the book to get the true flavor of the story and the personality of Mattie Ross, probably one of the greatest teen protagonists in the history of literature. She's like a tiny little force of nature, determined to find her father's killer no matter what. Her asides in Portis's book are so self-important, judgmental, and hilarious, you can totally picture this precocious know-it-all little brat riding around Arkansas seemingly completely unaware of what fourteen-year-old girls aren't supposed to be able to do in 1870.

The writing style is unique (a stiff flavor of dialog that may not be historically accurate, but manages to convey a sense of old-timey Western roughness), and the story is straightforward. Mattie Ross narrates events in the past tense, frequently adding little embellishments or asides that tell you she hasn't changed much even though she is now speaking as an older woman. Many people will always picture John Wayne as the fat, hard-drinking, one-eyed marshal Rooster Cogburn, but in the book, Cogburn is only slightly principled, as much outlaw as lawman, despite his soft spot for Mattie. Mattie completely steals the show, taking over every scene she's in, much as she takes over everything she gets involved with (keeping in mind that the book is told from Mattie's POV), but all the other characters, from Cogburn to the Texas Ranger LaBoef to the murderer Tom Chaney, who spends all his time whining about how "everything goes against me," are vivid little slices of Old West goodness.

True Grit is both a classic Western tale and a great timeless story that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike, and one of the few in its genre in which you'll find one of the strongest female characters ever. The world needs more Mattie Rosses!

The performance by Donna Tart sounds just like Mattie Ross as you might picture her, and Tart obviously loves her role. This audiobook ends with an essay by Tart sharing her love of the book, and quite accurately summing up the main character: "Mattie Ross is less Huck Finn's little sister than Captain Ahab's."

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Exceptional performance by Donna Tartt!

I was a fan of the book when it first came out, and then really enjoyed the movie, even though there were some differences (especially the last chapter). However, I've reread the book several times over the past 40 years, and seen the move at least five or six times. For a long trip, I decided to download the book, just to see what kind of job Donna Tartt would do. I was absolutely amazed at how natural she seemed as the narrator. She has a wonderful voice, the perfect accent, and a narrative cadence that fits Portis's style to a T!

Another reviewer mentioned the occasional choppiness of some of the "he said/she said" sections, and while I agree that it is noticeable, I don't feel it in any way detracted from the overall quality of the book.

It bears repeating that Donna Tartt did a wonderful job!

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The story is classic and the narration superb

A real joy to listen to, both in content and in narration. I listened to this prior to watching the new movie and was not disapointed in either.

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A classic adventure yarn

I grew up on the John Wayne movie of this tale, but I had no idea that the story was based on a book until after the Jeff Bridges version came out a year or so back. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Portis' Mattie is ever so much more complex than the girl who starred opposite John Wayne. Portis' Mattie is matter-of-factly kick-ass, and sometimes stubborn to the point of hilarity and stupidity.

I was also surprised to discover that the book is quite a bit more brutally violent than the story on which I was raised. I plan to watch the Jeff Bridges adaptation now that I've read this, and I'll be interested to see how ugly it gets.

  • Overall
  • Susan
  • Salt Lake City, UT United States
  • 08-03-11

One of the absolute best books I've listened to.

I saw the recent movie and liked it more than I thought I would. A friend recommended the book so I bought it not sure I'd like it having just seen the movie. It was spell binding. The reader is perfect for this book. I can't believe this book was "lost" and out of print for so long. Thank John Wayne I suppose for ruining such a great read. One to treasure over and over again.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Carrie
  • Columbia, TN, United States
  • 07-19-11

Brilliant rendering of a true classic

After seeing both movie versions of this story, I wasn't really sure what to expect of the book. But from the opening moments, I was completly enthralled with the story and the characters. Mattie Ross' no nonsense personality comes through on every page. Further, the readers performance is enjoyable and not distracting. It accentuates the story beautifully. I have enjoyed this book immensely and highly recommend it to others.

  • Overall

A Performance as much as a Reading

Donna Tartt does a brilliant job as narrator. For the audiobook to really work, she has to. True Grit has a lot of virtues, but I think by far the best is Portis's creation of Mattie Ross. She is absolutely relentless, yet there are still a few touches of the little girl in her. She bests a horse-dealer with her almost brutal negotiating style, yet later she innocently tries to engage the other members of her posse in telling ghost stories (they're not interested.) Some people may not find Mattie entirely sympathetic; she can be sanctimonious at times. Still, she is a very satisfying creation. And Tartt really captures her very, very well, I think, and demonstrates that an audiobook can be superior to the print version.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Excellent Reading

I can not imagine a better reader for this book than Donna Tartt. I had neither read the book, nor seen either movie version and now I probably won't. Tartt's accent is unvarying throughout the reading and while affected and poorly done accents can ruin a reading, her's never varies and fits the style and time of the book and the voice of the woman telling the story. One of my favorite audio books.

  • Overall
  • Sarrie
  • Bolingbrook, IL, United States
  • 06-10-11

The narrator is the icing on the cake

Great story, well written and well read by Donna Tartt. Funny and touching. I wish it could have been longer. Highly recommended.