rinabeana's Reviews > Streets of Laredo

Streets of Laredo by Larry McMurtry
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Jul 13, 11

Read in September, 2007

** spoiler alert ** I have such fond memories of Lonesome Dove. It's a fantastic book, and well-deserving of the Pulitzer Prize. I enjoyed the two prequels, but they weren't quite as good, an opinion I hold of this book as well. It was an interesting story and had McMurtry's usual high quality of writing. I think the characterization, and perhaps sequence of events, was what left me a little dissatisfied. The facts that the ranch in Montana failed within a couple years and Newt died shortly after the end of LD, and well before the start of Streets of Laredo made me sad. It's not that I don't believe they could have happened within the framework of the story, but after the epic quality of LD, to call those event anti-climatic would be a severe understatement. Also, I thought everyone was going to die by the end of this book, which didn't quite happen, but there was a lot of violence.

I've been thinking about this a lot since I finished reading it and it's hard to pinpoint why it's left me so unsettled. I don't enjoy violence, but I understand it's a necessary part of westerns. I think that the absence of Gus really made Streets of Laredo lack the humorous quality in the previous books. It seemed that most of the characters in this book were depressed/unhappy/regretful. I think Call especially broke my heart. I adore Call, even though I can't really identify with his extreme reserve and lack of relationships. I especially think it awful how he is so hated by women (notably Clara and Lorena) because of the men that give their loyalty to him (notably Gus and Pea Eye). I thought Clara was out of line in LD when she told him she despised him for taking Gus's body back to Texas. At least Lorena overcame her dislike of Call (which was fairly justified on her part) and I really liked the bond that formed between them when she saved his life and nursed him back to health. They will never be close, but I think they have a better understanding of each other, on a different (and perhaps) deeper level than Pea Eye understands either of them (bless his simple mind). My last comment about Call is that I was so incredibly glad that he and Teresa developed a (grand)father/daughter relationship at the end. My heart was broken for Call and the only thing that kept me from utter despair for him was Teresa. I kind of liked that it was open-ended about whether or not she went off to a school for the blind. Either way I imagine things happening, I'm satisfied.

So now that I've written about Call, I can't chalk my disturbed feelings about the book to his character. What really upset me were the villains. They were not Robin Hood-type outlaws; there were sociopaths. It would have been bad enough to have Joey, who thought his mother (who had endured hardships unimaginable) was a whore, put no value on human life and killed whenever he felt like it, and wanted to murder his brother and sister so his mother could essentially be a slave to him. On top of that I had to read about Mox Mox, a less methodical, but probably more insane, killer than Joey. The two of them made John Wesley Hardin (a real killer of the Old West, and ancillary character in this book) look like a relatively okay guy. EEK! Anyway, I guess the bottom line was that the violence was just so senseless (not that I know what violence would be sensible) and I had trouble with that. There were a number of characters introduced in this book, who were decent people and seemed only to serve as fodder for the vicious killers. What's confusing me is that there was senseless violence and death in LD, but I can't recall it upsetting me as much as this book.

I guess the bottom line (which means I'll stop babbling now!) is that I liked this book and I was glad to know what became of my beloved characters, but I'm not sure I'd like to reread it as I would Lonesome Dove.
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message 1: by Todd (new)

Todd Thanks for the spoilers... - Mark your review that it contains spoilers next time please - Nothing like starting a book and knowing one of the main characters is going die... ARGHH


rinabeana Todd wrote: "Thanks for the spoilers..."

I hadn't gotten a notification about this comment. Now that I've seen it, I checked the spoiler box. At the time I posted the review, that wasn't an option on GoodReads. Thanks for the sarcasm...


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