Tag: Mattie Ross

True Grit by Charles Portis

Posted October 12, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Classic, Western / 0 Comments

True Grit by Charles PortisTitle: True Grit (Goodreads)
Author: Charles Portis
Published: Overlook, 1968
Pages: 224
Genres: Classic, Western
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

True Grit is a classic Western novel that seems to have stood the test of time. True Grit follows fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross who sets out to avenge the shooting of her father. She hires Marshall Officer Rooster Cogburn to help her track down the killer Tom Chaney. However, most people will know this story from the John Wayne movie or the recent adaptation directed by the Coen brothers.

This book would be nothing if it wasn’t for narrator and protagonist Mattie Ross. She is a thrifty, strong minded girl that doesn’t let any of the men walk all over her. Her wit and strong personality is the driving force of this novel and you can’t help but root for her when she outsmarts or stands her ground throughout the book. This is a typical western, which means it is a tough environment and the men expect women to know their place, so when a loud mouth, bratty little girl decides to take charge then expect some personality clashes and an enjoyable read.

While Cogburn and Texas Ranger LaBoeuf are two interesting characters with very different styles of tracking down Tom Chaney, their personalities don’t really come through as well as Mattie and while she seems to like Rooster Cogburn for helping her, both men are outshined. This is a very short novel that surprisingly jams everything it needs to in fewer than two hundred pages.

Charles Portis’ writes the book masterfully; the pages are jammed pack with this adventure and this doesn’t detract from the fabulous prose. While this book sometimes feels very blunt and straightforward, I had so much fun reading about Mattie’s adventures and her commentary. I’m not much for westerns but I really did enjoy every minute of reading this book.