Ashley's Reviews > True Grit

True Grit by Charles Portis
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's review
Mar 20, 2011

really liked it
Read from June 06 to 26, 2012

True Grit is a really great book and a testament to the fact that characters make or break a novel. This book's characters and their distinct and truly unique voices are top notch. I enjoyed the story overall. It was typical, I think, of a western. What made it interesting was the fact that the world and the people who populate it are so three-dimensional and well-drawn.

The length of this book is perfect; it's just long enough. As for Mattie Ross, she is a great heroine; atypical, no-nonsense, and lacking the self-consciousness that comes with age. Rooster Cogburn makes a gruff and witty counterpart to her precociousness. The both of them have that indomitable sort of American spirit that makes this story buzz with life. Mattie goes in search of a man of true grit to hunt down her father's murderer and bring him to justice. I won't spoil the ending, but her search comes full circle--quite seamlessly--in the end. That, I think, is good fiction: the ability to make a seemingly external journey internal, to lead the protagonist and the reader, by proxy, home again with the feeling that more was learned and savored and achieved than the killing of an outlaw.

True Grit and Blood Meridian might be the only Westerns I know of that have expanded beyond the reach of genre/niche fiction and become American classics. I have not read Blood Meridian, but I understand why True Grit has a place among other great American novels. I would give it five stars had it left more of a personal impact on me, but I think that there is no reason why anyone should pass up this book.

4.5 stars.

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Quotes Ashley Liked

Charles Portis
“Lookin' back is a bad habit.”
Charles Portis, True Grit

Charles Portis
“If you want anything done right you will have to see to it yourself every time.”
Charles Portis, True Grit

Charles Portis
“Nothing is too long or too short either if you have a true and interesting tale and what I call a "graphic" writing style combined with educational aims.”
Charles Portis, True Grit

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