Laura's Reviews > True Grit

True Grit by Charles Portis
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's review
Mar 20, 11

bookshelves: book-club, western, revenge
Recommended to Laura by: Book Club
Read in March, 2011, read count: 1

Charles Portis, True Grit (1968)

Book club book this month. Not bad. Fourteen year old girl takes up the mantle of Nemesis and goes hunting for the killer of her father. Classic tale, only no one goes mad. It’s told from the girl’s point of view, which is unsentimental and relentlessly unsymbolic. Around her swirls this richly symbolic universe that she doesn’t see. There’s an old saying that goes something like “he who seeks vengeance should dig two graves,” and the universe knows that, even though she doesn’t seem to.

It’s all good, though. Symbolism does not catch up with her and she’s not the one in the second grave.

I often don’t like the books we read in our book club. They are all too often these intricate jewel box portrayals of ordinary lives that just don’t move me. Or they are sentimental pablum like Eat, Pray, Love, a book I despise more every time I think about it. This was something else entirely. Someone takes up a task, someone completes the task. She’s not transformed by it; she doesn’t care about the larger consequences; she saves no worlds; she solves no crimes. An interesting contrast to The Hunger Games, which I read immediately afterwards. Here, a young girl treats justice into a highly personal thing like it was before Athena brought the jury to Athens and turned it into a community responsibility. There, a young girl plays the role assigned to her by a powerful community, seeking vengeance for some long ago supposed betrayal. Same elements, arranged very differently. Good contrast.

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