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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

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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.

108 people found this helpful

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Must read if you saw the movie

I read Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove some years ago, counting it as among the best books I've ever read, probably in my top five. Therefore, it's a wonder it took me some time to get to The Last Picture Show, which I finished in just two days on Audible while driving from Oklahoma City to Charlottesville, Virginia. I loved Bogdanovich's film classic, with the screenplay fittingly written by McMurtry himself, watching it when I was at an age not far from the ages of the main characters Sonny and Duane. I need to watch it again after reading McMurtry’s paean to young and old lives lived in a small town in west Texas. McMurtry brings his well-imagined characters to life in his novels, you just get a real good sense of who they are, and that is an art not easily replicated among writers. It helps to explain his longevity in his craft, and of course his work is voluminous. In my view, he stands among America’s great novelists over the last half-century, and that’s based on just two reads, but I won’t wait so long to pick up the next one. The question is whether to go on to Texasville, and continue to follow Sonny and Duane, or go to Dead Man’s Walk, returning to those beloved Texas Rangers we got to know in Lonesome Dove.

6 people 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

5 people found this helpful

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Beautifully written and moving

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

4 people found this helpful

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Truly tender story writing

Larry McMurtry seems to truly understand women in their interior dialogs. What a great piece of work this is in splendidly narrated with a husky Lonestar voice.

2 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

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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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Outstanding

This book was outstanding. It was well written and very entertaining. The characters are very believable.

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Was looking for more than a soap opera

After reading the Lonesome Dove series I hoped for more from this book but was a bit disappointed. It really was a small town soap opera with a few interesting things thrown in. Not at all what I remember growing up In a small Texas town. He also talked about "ragweeds" blowing and rolling across the road. Not sure if he was talking about tumbleweeds or broomweed, but ragweed doesn't do that. That and a couple of other inconsistencies made me wonder if he had ever really even been to Texas, much less grew up here. Kind of surprising, but I'll chalk it up to growing up in a different era. I would have rated lower but I did get interested in hearing out all the stories to the end.