The Last Picture Show

Thalia Trilogy, Book 1
Narrated by: John Randolph Jones
Series: The Last Picture Show, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (273 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An almost-true story about a small town in Texas that ought to exist if it doesn’t, with characters like Sam the Lion, the delectable Jacy, and Ruth Popper, the coach’s wife. Set in a small, dusty, Texas town, The Last Picture Show introduced the characters of Jacy, Duane, and Sonny: teenagers stumbling toward adulthood, discovering the beguiling mysteries of sex and the even more baffling mysteries of love. Populated by a wonderful cast of eccentrics and animated by McMurtry's wry and raucous humor, The Last Picture Show is a wild, heartbreaking, and poignant novel that resonates with the magical passion of youth.

©1966 Larry McMurtry (P)1989 Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Last Picture Show

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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Not very good

I recently saw the movie of this book, and thought I would like the book. McMurtry's books have been good readers for me in the past. I thought this book slow and uninspiring. The best thing I can say is that it was depressing.

106 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautifully written and moving

It’s just a gorgeous book. Deceptively simple writing. Makes me cry. Beautiful. Read it now.

3 people found this helpful

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I give few A grades but this is one.

This is a classic This is the first of a series of 5 that I would say compares to Updikes Harry “rabbit” Angstrom series and in my opinion is the superior version. You are doing yourself a disservice to not read the whole series. Not always a happy book but one you will still be thinking about long after you have finished

1 person found this helpful

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Albert

saw the movie a hundred times, can watch it a hundred more, 1 of my all time favorites, but this is first time I read(heard🐱) the book, now I understand the characters, all the situations, time, place,, in much greater detail, much more, for instance, the fling between Sonny & Lois , which I saw only a moment of affection in the movie, but the actual fling in the book, thats what reading a story prior to an adaptation is all about. I enjoyed it thru & thru

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Longing for Love in a Small, Dusty Town

This is the story of Duane, Jacy, and Sonny--teenagers longing for love and a more thrilling life—as well as some of the adults in their small town of Thalia, Texas. The teenagers dream of bigger things than the town seems to offer and the adults are drawn to the fresh teenagers like moths to a flame. The adults’ misery with life in Thalia is palpable.

This story is humorous and nostalgic, yet melancholy and dejected. The sadness most of the characters feel about their lives is front and center, and even when the teenagers are thrill-seeking, their bad decisions come back to haunt them in the form of unexpected outcomes. The adults are no better. Even in the last chapter when Ruth rages at Sonny’s ineptitude and inadvertent coldness toward her, she still longs for his youthful touch while she exclaims, “I’m really not smart.”

I’m certain around the time of its original publication, the spotlight on the internal lives of these teenagers’ sex lives must have been illuminating. But reading it now, the revelations are somewhat cliché and groan-inducing, rather than thrilling.

But more importantly, McMurtry’s writing is economical yet sturdy, even poetic at times. And he has a strong ability to develop characters in a natural way. There is one chapter that affected me deeply, the one where Sam the Lion goes to the lake with Duane and Sonny and tells them about a time when he was their age and took a girl to the same spot on the lake. It is a moment of reflection for Sam the Lion that affects him and the reader deeply, revealing his longing for a love and a place in time that is distant yet ever-present in his heart. The teenage boys have a difficult time imagining their elder statesman as a teenager like them, doing the same lusty pining they themselves are guilty of doing. It’s an excellent scene with a lot to contemplate and unpack, and its written beautifully.

The narrator, John Randolph Jones, did a fine job and the tone of his voice was perfect for this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Sucked

Boring and stupid. Disappointing after listening to many McMurtry books in the past. Don't waste your time.

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I love this book

I will read just about anything written by this author.
Loved this one. I love the worlds he creates that I've never inhabited.

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Terrible

I couldn’t finish the book, the whole thing was about some white trash boys in Texas

3 people found this helpful

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Perfect complement to the movie

Would you listen to The Last Picture Show again? Why?

Yes. Saw the movie (again) recently after having seen it when it first came out. The DVD had an interview with the Producer, Peter Bogdanovich, in which he revealed that he had to cut the movie down in order to please the movie company. He regretted this and that led me to download the book to see what was missing. I highly recommend seeing the movie first, then read/listen to the book. They complement each other in that you will have a visualization of the movie characters who were all excellent. It's been a long time since I've enjoyed a story as much as this one. What a wonderful writer!

What other book might you compare The Last Picture Show to and why?

American Graffiti comes to mind even though it wasn't a book. I suppose if you grew up in the 60's or late 50's as I did, it makes it all that more enjoyable to be able to relate to those moments in the both The Last Picture Show and American Graffiti..

What about John Randolph Jones’s performance did you like?

Perfect! In fact, I will probably listen to several more that he has narrated just to listen to his great delivery and performance.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Both! The characters were painted with such richness almost like an artist painting.

Any additional comments?

If you have seen the movie way back when, see it again. Then listen to the Audible version. It's like eating chocolate cake and washing it down with a glass of cold milk.

6 people found this helpful

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World class narration - and story too!!!

Loved his ability to speak like multiple people and portray their dialects. Very authentic!
The story was just pure world class. Reminded me how life exists of small incidents that may seem unimportant but they are still a part of the puzzle... And you.

4 people found this helpful