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Boone's Lick

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  1,371 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Larry McMurtry returns to the Old West in a fast-moving, comic tale about a woman determined to conquer anything that stands in the way of an ultimate confrontation with her wayward husband.
In his first historical novel in ten years, Larry McMurtry introduces Mary Margaret, a nineteenth-century version of the formidable, unforgettable Aurora Greenway of Terms of Endearme
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 4th 2001 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2000)
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Any “western” novel that Larry McMurtry writes will forever be compared to Lonesome Dove. McMurtry set the bar high with that one, arguably one of the great novels of the last fifty years. Even the sequels that I’ve read lack the epic sweep of his Pulitzer Prize winner. So how does Boone’s Lick match up or should inevitable comparisons even be drawn.

Boone’s Lick, narrated by 15 year old Shay Cecil, recounts his family’s journey in search of their philandering father, a guy who shows up for a few
Bonnie Plested
This is a short, sweet little book, really nothing more than the account of one of McMurtry's classic eccentric western families as they travel west to find their pa. Some critics dwell on the fact that this book lacks the sweep and drama of "Lonesome Dove". That's so, but it also lacks that book's cruelty and tragedy. The delight here is in the details - Grandpa taking out his fiddle as soon as he meets another fiddler on the trail, the glow off the tip of a burning cheroot smoked by a prostitu ...more
Jul 26, 2009 Nikki rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: western fans
I have one question. Is the Cecil family he writes about the same Cecil family that later appears in the 20th century in the series starting with "The Last Picture Show" or does he just really like the last name Cecil?

Another descriptive and imaginative tale about life in the old west. I'm not really cowboyish type of person. However, I can't get enough of Larry McMurtry's western stories. This was a fast read and rather short compared to his other books. However, it was so well written that I
OK, so I read an article this week about Larry McMurtry selling most of his book collection. So of course I had to find a McMurtry I hadn't read yet. Found two, so I was feeling pretty great. He is incredible, what can you say? Character development like so few authors can really do. The only reason it's a four and not a five is I guess I wish it were longer. It is a great little story, and Shay was a super narrator, keeping things going and explaining as best his 15 year old eyes and experience ...more
Boone's Lick is a backwater town in Missouri . The setting is the American West during the Civil War. Mary Margaret Cecil and her growing family are living off the land the best they can. Her husband Dickie is a supplier for the forts of the US Army and travels far and wide securing himself with an Indian wife and family at every fort on the Oregon Trail. Mary Margaret has had enough of his never-do-well ways and decides to pack up her family and her beloved brother-in-law, Uncle Seth, in a wago ...more
Sharon Watkins
How can you not love Larry McMurtry? I don't think anyone will ever call Boone's Lick his master work. It is, however, an enjoyable read, following the Missouri Cecil family after Mary Margaret decides to take her entire household on the trail to find her straying husband in Wyoming.
I discovered Larry McMurtry when I listened to the audio version of Lonesome Dove on my iPod. I was captivated by the characters and the settings of that long Western classic. I recently discovered Boone's Lick in my library, where I had apparently bought and placed it a long time ago. I thought, "Why not"?

This is a much shorter western that Lonesome Dove, but is almost as entertaining. McMurtry lived out West for many years (according to his somewhat autobiographical novel "Books"), and he clea
Mikey B.
A delightful novelette describing a single mother uprooting her family from Missouri and moving to Wyoming. The characters are interesting and a few more are encountered on the journey. It’s romantic and gritty at the same time. There is good portrayal of tension between characters. The Western settings are a typical McMurtry product and well done.
This saga of the Cecil family is narrated by the oldest son, Sherman, Shay for short. The family is dominated by Mary Margaret, Shay’s mother. After living in Boone’s Lick, Missouri for 14 years and having her husband, Dick, only drop in every other year or two for a couple of days leaving her pregnant, she tires of the situation. She decides to go look for her husband who is working for the army in the Wyoming Territory. She packs up her home, three children plus a baby, her father, her brother ...more
Sue Merrell
I really like this book, partly because it starts in Missouri after the Civil War and my ancestors lived in Missouri at that time so I was interested in imagining their lives. But the best part of the book is the sense of humor, one funny situation after another and someone is always making a wise crack about it. It's the story of the Cecil Family told by the 14-year-old Shay. Things are pretty rough after the war and the sheriff comes to steal the family mules with the hope of forming a posse, ...more
Jordan Blalock
Jordan Blalock


English 9


Boone’s Lick
Boone’s Lick is a story that takes place during the Wild West era in a town called Boone’s Lick near the Missouri River. The story is told in first person by a young boy named Shay. The main characters are Shay, G.T., Grandpa Crackerthorpe, Neva, Uncle Seth, Ma, and Aunt Rosie. Boone’s Lick is a good book in my opinion; it is interesting and very entertaining.
The story starts out at the characters home in which all of them live together (excep
Janice Todd
A strong female character, an adventure for a 15 yo boy… bad guys, Indians, historical figures, irresponsible men and good men… and humor. This was a fast read and fun with easy to read dialect, great atmosphere plus bringing in a few historical events and people that we know in generalities but have affected how we look at the Old West… Colonel Fetterman. Well written and fun to read.
Ginny Messina
This could have been a wonderful novel, but it was really just a good novella, which left me feeling a little unsatisfied. And of course, it was no Lonesome Dove. (But Larry McMurtry is probably never going to write another Lonesome Dove, and I know I just have to get over it.)

The opening story involving Wild Bill Hickok had absolutely no relationship to the rest of the story and felt a little odd in a book this length. And the ending was pretty predictable—-the second that Mary Margaret loaded
This short book, picked up in Portland at Powell's for an airplane trip, lasted for the trip. It is not a very hard book, but is full of great characters, which is what McMurtry does best. The mother,in the book, Mary Margaret,reminds me of some of my foremothers. She is focused and driven and she knows what she wants. She is not a sissy; she doesn't cry like a girl when her wagon breaks down. The story, told by her son Shay, is historical fiction, I think, and paints a colorful portrait of the ...more
I don't often read westerns but every once in a while will pick one up. This is a fairly traditional one, and I liked how McMurty wove historical fact into what is mostly a purely fictional tale. He gives you a nice slice of reality with this very flawed family, such that the reader can see monogamy wasn't the sacred cow we'd like to think it was way back when. The dangers of traveling into Indian territory are revealed, along with the effects of indiscriminate killing of wild herds of whatever ...more
Innocuous bildungsroman as told by 15 year old Missouri native Sherman (Shay) Cecil. The main story Shay tells us revolves around a dangerous wagon and riverboat trek westward that he and his family take in search of his 'deadbeat' dad. Along the way they meet preachers Indians grizzlies antelope buffalo and the remnants of the Indian wars.
I listened to the audiobook version brilliantly narrated by actor Will Patton (he has a distinct voice for each character).
The journey of the Cecil family wa
May 28, 2008 Pamela rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adventure readers
Starting with Lonesome Dove, I have read every McMurtry book about the American West that I could get my hands on. They are a little like potato chips for me--just can't stop once I get started...but this has more substance. What a storyteller Larry McMurtry is!! In spite of knowing that human beings couldn't possibly survive some of the circumstances in the book and that it stretches the boundaries of believability even for those brave people who crossed this country in a wagon more than a cent ...more
James (JD) Dittes
While the book took me along the Oregon Trail and into the Wyoming highlands (echoes of a road trip I took this summer), I was disappointed. The characterization was stunted, and some characters just seemed thrown into the plot for the sake of historical reference.

It read like an average young-adult novel, not something I would expect from a writer of McMurtry's standing. For that reason, I would probably recommend it to younger, teen readers--if not adults like me looking for a quick peek at l
Mary Margaret needs to see her husband who is only home every year or so. So she packs up her dad, four kids (including a nursing infant), her bruised sister, her infatuated brother-in-law, an odd Indian and an odd priest and sets off for forts in the wild west. Along the way they meet Wild Bill Hickock, Indians, animals, and . . . well, I don't want to spoil it for you. I love Larry McMurtry's descriptions, such as someone who is out of breath having run so fast they outran their breath.
Having grown up in Missouri, I was excited at the prospect of a reading a book by Larry McMurty that partially takes place there. I'm not sure why this excited me, and after a few chapters I realized that this aspect of the book was really no big deal. It's a fine story nonetheless, although not as compelling as his Lonesome Dove series, or the Berrybender Narratives. Maybe if I had lived in Boones' Lick with a lot of mules as a child this would have hit closer to home for me.
Larry McMurtry is always surprising. I had not read one of his books in years and I found this one used in a book store. It was funny, compelling, real and just fun to read. I am going to read it to my 7th graders, but it's not a "kid" book. It's just a good book about a country family. Mary Martha is tired of living without her husband so she decides to pack up the family and go looking for him through indian country. It's a hoot. It's short and I recommend it!!!!
Bryce Waddell
I was actually pretty disappointed with this book... up until now everything I've read from McMurtry has been gold, including books outside of the Lonesome Dove series. This book was just a mediocre western with a predictable plot and a lot of name dropping. Some people have said that it was just a quick, fun read for a western, but if thats what you're looking for I would suggest any Louis L'amour book over this one, as they are actually entertaining.
This doesn't have the same depth as Lonesome Dove, but if you like Larry McMurtry's quirky characters and banter, this is a pretty fast read. I knew I'd be okay with it after encountering this on the first page:

"G.T. could always be counted on to do the unexpected: only yesterday he jumped up and stabbed Granpa Crakenthorpe in the leg with a pocketknife, probably because he got tired of hearing Granpa complain about the food."
Hadn't read any of McMurtry's work in many years but was a big fan of the "Lonesome Dove" genre so I was very pleased to find a BUNCH of his new books in the local library. "Boone's Lick" is of that type, with strong, well developed, characters and an outrageous story line. If you like a really good storyteller, McMurtry's the man. I also picked up three of his more recent books and just started "Zeke and Ned"!
After reading a long history book preceeded by a somewhat "helpful" self help book I needed a break from reading while still wanting to read. The perfect solution to that problem is always a shot of McMurtry. Great characters, historically accurate situations and places, predictable yet satisfying plot all are just what you need for truly recreational reading. Fun to read, try it when you need a break.
Donna Radcliff
Mary Margret Cecil heads west to find her husband, Dickie, who has been gone for 15 months. With her are her four children, her sister, brother-in-law, and her cranky elderly father.

This is a fast-paced, comic tale of the old west of a determined woman who won't let anything come between her and a showdown with her wayward husband.

The story is based on the real-life Cecil family.
I listened to this story on CD and just loved the reader's interpretation of how each character would sound. I immediately got "roped" into the storyline about a strong-spirited woman dragging her children, half-sister, and brother-in-law across the western plains and mountain ranges to find her wayward husband. author Larry McMurtry knows how to combine humor and adventure in a skillful way.
A tough-minded woman that takes on the the Cecil boys, the US Army and any number of Indians and mules; that's my kind woman. She's even got my mother's name, although I have to say that my mother didn't take any nonsense about my Dad leaving her to raise us kids alone.

Anyway, it's a rollicking tale of the big, wide West before it was tamed. Highly entertaining.
Another great read by McMurtry! I was relieved because some of his more recent stuff has been disappointing (understandably since he's been writing for ages). This was a quick read about a woman who is fed up w/ her rarely-there husband, so she takes her kids (a lot of them) and a few others to go find him. McMurtry's westerns are always spot-on!
Sometimes McMurtry is good. Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, Comanche Moon. Sometimes he is gross, Streets of Laredo. Sometimes he is just stupid.

This started out as one of the stupid books. But I kept at it and eventually it became interesting and had a good ending.

I don't think I recommend it to anyone in particular.
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Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than thirty screenplays.

Among many other accolades he was the co-winner of an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Brokeback Mountain in 2006.

Larry McMurty was born in Wichita Falls Texas in 1936. His first published book Horseman, Pass By was
More about Larry McMurtry...
Lonesome Dove Terms of Endearment The Last Picture Show Streets of Laredo Comanche Moon

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