My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’m not calling this a review because I’m in a more rambling mood than critical one.
I have an unreasonable prejudice against Westerns. Maybe I was traumatized by one as a small child, and have blocked the memory to protect myself. Then again, maybe I just pay too much attention to the stereotypes of manly men and gun battles.
True Grit is the story of a 14 year old girl that heads into Indian country with a US Marshall and a Texas Ranger in order to find the man that killed her father and bring him to justice.
I finally went to see the movie because it had a lot of Oscar buzz, and there wasn’t really anything else that interested me playing at the time I was available. I liked the movie more than I thought I would, but I didn’t love it.
I figured that would be the end of it, but not long after, the book showed up on the Audible.com $5 book sale. I’d heard that the movie was very faithful the the book, and decided I was $5 and 6 hours worth of curious.
I suspect this would have been a very different book for me if I’d listened to it before seeing the movie, and I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much. I’ll never know, of course.
The narrator had much the same cadence to her delivery as Hailee Steinfeld did in the movie, even though her voice was different. Somehow this was enough to bring the visuals of the movie into my mind in a way that rarely happens for me, even when I read a book after watching the movie. In fact, I very rarely visualize a book when reading (whether print or audio), so this was an interesting experience for me.
An side effect was that when the shooting started (What, it’s a Western!) I wasn’t in the mood to deal with that at the time (I hid my eyes during the movie. Not a great idea when I was driving, and since the picture was in my head, it probably wouldn’t have helped anyway).
I actually spent two days going back and forth between True Grit and a Doctor Who novelization (which also contained shooting, but since it was between Sontarans and people who were infected by alien spores and could then shoot light from their hands, somehow didn’t bother me as much).
Why did this story work for me? Because of the character of Mattie, who is by no means your average 14 year old. She’s a great character, and reminds me a little of one 14 year old I know, not in any detail, but in her spirit– her grit. Mattie was sassy and self confident, but completely unaware of how she appeared to others. Watching Mattie and Rooster grow through the book (and movie) was a treat.
So, am I going to go read more Westerns? Probably not, although I may pick up Lonesome Dove at some point, since so many bloggers have raved about it over the last year. I am a little more willing to entertain the idea.of reading (or watching) them in general.