Lisa (Harmonybites)'s Reviews > Hondo

Hondo by Louis L'Amour
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Jul 09, 11

bookshelves: fiction, historical-fiction, novels, ultimate-reading-list, romance, westerns
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
Recommended for: No One
Read on July 09, 2011, read count: 1

I'd long heard of Louis L'Amour as among the most famous writers of Westerns and his 1953 novel, Hondo was on a Western recommendation list I've been reading through. Well, I'd be tempted to call this a guy thing. All I can say ladies, that if any male sig other of yours sneers at your bodice rippers, you need only brandish this novel as an example of the godawful things boys are way too fond of, because this reads like the male counterpart to reeking romance aisle. From the start, the prose sounded like the voice-over from an old-fashioned cheesy trailer. This is the second paragraph, describing Hondo Lane, gunman and hero of the tale:

He was a big man, wide-shouldered, with the lean, hard-boned face of the desert rider. There was no softness in him. His toughness was ingrained and deep, without cruelty, yet quick, hard, and dangerous. Whatever wells of gentleness might lie within him were guarded and deep.

Yet, I pressed on. Through dizzying point of view switches and the breaking of a horse that involves bucking and getting the poor thing into a lather. Until I hit the most painful grouping of gender cliches known to man, woman, or beast. See, "Marty-Stu" Hondo soon meets up with pretty rancher Angie Lowe. And phrases begin to pile up like: he "made her feel like a woman" and she's "a lot of woman" and "all woman" and he's doing a "man's job" she can't do since "she had her woman's work." That's the sound of me retching you're hearing.

Now, by the way, I'm not saying all this genre is crap or for men only. I enjoyed Elmer Kelton, was impressed by Little Big Man, The Ox-Bow Incident, Lonesome Dove and True Grit. But I think Louis L'Amour is only for hardcore lovers of the genre who won't notice or care about clunky writing.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Lazey I agree that this book was sexist and sucked all around. But don't write off L'Amour just yet! Try some of his short stories or his Sackett novels.
I prefer Elmer Kelton over L'Amour myself.


message 2: by Lisa (Harmonybites) (last edited Dec 13, 2012 02:10PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Lisa (Harmonybites) Lazey wrote: "I agree that this book was sexist and sucked all around. But don't write off L'Amour just yet! Try some of his short stories or his Sackett novels.
I prefer Elmer Kelton over L'Amour myself."


I liked an Elmer Kelton book I tried (Many a River)--and loved Lonesome Dove, True Grit and Little Big Man among westerns I tried. And I know some authors improved over time--many of my favoties have. So I'll keep that in mind--though realistically, given this was so bad and the too-many-books-too-little-time principle...


Lazey Yeah. Hondo devolved from "The Gift of Cochise", a short story which was a lot better. I guess John Wayne/some Hollywood guy read the short story and thought it would make a great movie if it was longer and more machismo... I didn't care of the movie Hondo either.


message 4: by Keith (new)

Keith The book was published in 1953! By today's standards, Ithaca, NY was a right wing community in 1953.


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