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True Grit

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  26,180 Ratings  ·  3,580 Reviews
Mattie Ross, 14, from Dardanelle, Arkansas, narrates half a century later, her trip in the winter of 1870s, to avenge the murder of her father. She convinces one-eyed "Rooster" Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshall, to tag along, while she outdickers and outmaneuvers the hard-bitten types in her path. Basis of John Wayne movie and re-make.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published December 31st 2002 by Overlook Books (first published May 21st 1968)
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Paul Bryant
Apr 19, 2016 Paul Bryant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Finding a novel which you can recommend to everybody is really not easy. Look at these totally five-star novels :

Lolita? nah, it’s about a paedophile

Ulysses? absolutely not, too hard, and no plot

Moby Dick? you kidding? recommend this and lose your friends!

A Clockwork Orange? – it’s not even in English!

Trainspotting? – see Clockwork Orange

Memoirs of Hadrian? See Ulysses, only also, it’s Roman

Blindness? it’s horrible!

But here is True Grit, which I recommend to all goodreaders. (Are there any badre
Jan 18, 2011 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: portishead
On the whole, the western genre doesn't inherently appeal to me. I'm not a modern emasculated male yearning wistfully for a time 'when men were men, and dames were etc.' I am relatively content being a gangly Gentile nebbish afraid of his own shadow and estranged from his natural heritage of hunting, foraging, and defecating unashamedly in a shallow hole behind a cactus. Nothing at the heart of my being cries out for a pistol, a lariat, or a fitful night on the prairie punctuated by the wails of ...more
Nov 11, 2010 karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grit-lit
this book is wonderful in a lot of ways. the last fifty or so pages alone are intense and scary and my mouth did that thing where it just falls open and makes me look totally doofy but i couldn't care because i was frantically reading to find out what would happen. that is some seriously good writing.

and if i had read this when i was younger and it had been part of my life for a long time, or even if i had read it before winter's bone, it would probably have attained the five stars.

but. narrato
I love this book!

I was barely starting to read it and I was already amazed of how much I was enjoying the reading experience and how much I like the way how it was written.

Definitely I want to read other books by Charles Portis and I hope to do it in the near future.

I wasn't ignorant about the story due I remember that I watched the film with John Wayne at some moment and definitely I watched the recent remake with Jeff Bridges.

I would not put a thief in my mouth to steal my brains.

I chose t
Feb 13, 2010 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nancy by: Evan
Wow, what a great story! Mattie Ross is just 14 years old when she hooks up with Rooster Cogburn, the “meanest” U.S. Marshal, to avenge her father, killed by an outlaw who took advantage of his good nature.

Mattie endures bad weather, illness, grueling hours on horseback, runs into outlaws, and fights off rattlesnakes. She’s tough-talking, honest, loyal, fearless, and I enjoyed every moment with her. I also loved the realistic historical details and well-drawn secondary characters. The gruff and
Treasure of the Rubbermaids: The Dude Vs. The Duke

Sometimes you get very clear signs that you should read or re-read a specific book. Earlier this year, my friend Nancy had read True Grit and recommended it to me. I’d seen the John Wayne movie version a couple of times, and I had a hazy memory that I’d read it at some point. The more I thought about it, I was pretty sure that I’d even owned a very old copy of the book once upon a time.

Months later, I heard that the Coen brothers were doing a new
Jul 05, 2016 Lyn rated it it was amazing
I loved it.

Mattie Ross is one of the great American children characters along with Huckleberry Finn and Scout Finch. Portis’ protagonist and narrator looks back from the early 1900s to her childhood in the 1870s, not long after the end of the Civil War, when she as a 14 year old girl went out into the Indian nation to find her father’s killer.

Reminiscent of Mark Twain (and also Barbara Kingsolver’s narration in The Poisonwood Bible) the lyric quality of Charles Portis’s prose is a treasure. Port
Sanjay Gautam
Dec 05, 2016 Sanjay Gautam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A good story, is a story well told. And True Grit is such a story: pure story-telling ; with great characters. Nothing happens much for half of the book, but it is in the last hundred pages that real action happens that thrills you, and thrills you good. But it is the prose that is the unmistakable hallmark of the novel; the dialogues were crafted so beautifully that you want to read them again and again; and reading was, in itself, a pleasure. Very few books have this combination: excellent pro
Mar 07, 2016 Warwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I write this from the little town of Fort Smith, Arkansas – the place where Arkansans go if they can't take the heaving, helter-skelter metropolis of Little Rock. It seemed at first to be a rather unliterary place: when I asked around for a local bookshop, passers-by could direct me only to the Revelation Christian Bookstore, which seems to have staked its business model on bland modern Bible translations and pro-life bumper stickers. So it was quite a pleasant surprise finally to hit upon True ...more
Dec 23, 2016 Joe rated it it was amazing
After Huckleberry Finn probably the single greatest novel of the American West. It's been adapted twice for the films. Neither captures what makes this a book so great: the stern, judgmental, archaic, hilarious voice of the narrator, Mattie Ross. The kind of novel you find yourself revisiting every couple years. I learned more about "voice" from this story than from anything else I've ever read.
A timeless classic of heroism, adventure, and coming of age that I found to be both thrilling and funny. The tale of how a 14-year old girl from Arkansas comes to avenge the murder of her father in 1878 is so pure and elegant, it can’t help but make you believe in the power of righteous determination to right the ills of the world. Told from the perspective of a straitlaced spinster decades later, we get a jaundiced eye on the human condition that puts human weakness and courage in a wonderful p ...more
Jul 06, 2016 Emma rated it really liked it
Shelves: western
PEOPLE do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father’s blood but it did not seem so strange then, although I will say it did not happen every day.

This is the story of Mattie Ross from Dardanelles, Arkansas and what a story it is! I haven't read anything else by Charles Portis but the voice of his protagonist is absolutely authentic and credible. To listen to this young girl, so assured, so determined, browbeat all those
Dec 10, 2016 Camie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My book is the 2010 reprint (with an afterward by Donna Tartt ) which coincided with the release of the the second True Grit movie directed by the Cohen Brothers and starring Jeff Bridges, but my memories of the story come straight from the great old John Wayne production in 1968, which most likely I watched on a black and white screen. Scrappy Mattie Ross is only 14 when she hires a beat up , mean , old one- eyed Marshall, Rooster Cogburn to help her avenge the robbery and death of her father b ...more
I have always loved the old True Grit movie with John Wayne, and now I can say I love the novel too!

This entertaining 1870's Wild West adventure begins when a formidable and funny 14 year old Mattie Ross hires the fat and fearless one-eyed Sheriff Rooster Cogburn to track down outlaw Tom Chaney who gunned down her beloved father in cold blood. With the assistance of a Texas Ranger and repeated threats of retaliation from Mattie's relentless lawyer Daggett for anyone who gets in her way, the cont

Jan 12, 2015 Candi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: westerns
"People do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the winter-time to avenge her father’s blood but it did not seem so strange then, although I will say it did not happen every day."

This is exactly what Mattie Ross, now on my list of all-time favorite narrators/protagonists, sets out to do in this entertaining and adventure-filled western. The industrious Mattie hires Deputy Marshall Rooster Cogburn to search for her father’s killer in the formidable Ind
Oct 01, 2010 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply put, this is one of the most enjoyable novels that I've ever read. It really should be a part of any American Lit. survey, because as a piece of Americana, it easily holds it's own against novels like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Red Badge of Courage, and The Scarlet Letter. This novel contains some of the best dialogue that I have ever read, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the original True Grit movie lifted, verbatim, large chunks of passages from the book. Portis' ear for dia ...more
Dec 30, 2016 Erika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this novel in part because of Warwick's great review and I was not disappointed.

This addictively readable story is part comedy, part character study, part adventure, and part history lesson. I listened to the audio version narrated by Donna Tartt who is pitch-perfect as Maddie Ross. The audio edition also includes an interesting essay written by Tartt that looks at True Grit's appeal across multiple generations and discusses some of the reasons why it's so freakin' good.
Apr 05, 2016 Tatiana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, 2016
4.5 stars

This was a great pleasure. Rarely do books come with as strong a voice as Mattie Ross's.
Oct 25, 2012 Tfitoby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit, favourites, western

True Grit by Charles Portis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ranked #3 on my Top 10 Reads in 2012

"True Grit is the best novel to come my way in a very long time...One of those rare sweet can recommend it to inveterate fiction readers and to those who read only one or two novels a year." - taken from the back of the book.

Blurb: True Grit tells the story of Mattie Ross, a fourteen-year-old girl from Dardanelle, Arkansas, who sets out in the winter of eighteen seventy-something to avenge th
May 28, 2013 seak rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross's father is shot and she heads out to find the culprit. It's as direct and upfront as that and the writing is the same. For example (demonstrating both the straightforward prose and directness of the main protagonis, Mattie Ross):
Yarnell said, "You can't stay in this city by yourself."

I said, "It will be all right. Mama knows I can take care of myself. Tell her I will be stopping at the Monarch boardinghouse. If there is no room there I will leave word with the sher
Henry Avila
Jul 13, 2011 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of Mattie Ross,a spunky 14 year old girl, from Yell County Arkansas.Who seeks justice ,when her father is murdered, by the outlaw Tom Chaney in Fort Smith.Set in the late 1870's ,the kid soon understands ,that nobody wants to risk their life for free,to capture the fugitive .Informed that Rooster Cogburn, is the toughest marshall ,working for the famous hanging Judge Isaac Parker.He shoots first and asks questions later!Cogburn will track down the criminal for a generous fee.Mattie sel ...more
Paul Capps
Dec 18, 2015 Paul Capps rated it it was amazing
It’s tough for me to not just stop here and tell you to read this book and be done with this review. Even if you’ve seen either film adaptation of True Grit, the classic John Wayne film, or the equally excellent 2010 Coen brothers film, if you haven’t read Charles Portis’ original novel, you’re really missing out.

Every single thing about this book was utterly delightful. I found myself enjoying every single page. I’ve never read any of Charles Portis’ novels, but now I intend to get to them all.
Dec 29, 2010 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, western, 2011
Several things drew me to this book. First, the Coen brothers decided to do an adaptation of this book and second, some good friends wrote some fantastic reviews of it.

Because they did such a good job of telling what the book was about, I won't go into much detail, but I will talk a little bit about something I observed about the main character Mattie Ross.

Mattie Ross makes the decision, at the age of fourteen, to avenge her fathers murder. She hires "Rooster" Cogburn, a federal marshal with tru
Dec 13, 2011 Lou rated it it was amazing
The story opens with a grand paragraph of affairs..
"PEOPLE DO not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off into the wintertime to avenge her father's blood but it did not seem so strange then, although I will say it did not happen every day. I was just fourteen years of age when a coward going by name of Tom Chaney shot my father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robbed him of his life and his horse and $150 in cash money plus two California good pieces that he
Apr 05, 2015 El rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
People seem to have been raving about this book for some time, even before the Coen brothers did that movie back in 2010, so when I finally saw a cheap copy someplace I picked it up so I could check it out for myself.

As much as I'm all rah-rah for good, strong female characters in literature, I'm a bit more hesitant about precocious female characters that really don't do much besides be... well... precocious. I worried that this would be similar and frustrate me, but I actually didn't get that i
Dec 06, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amanda by: Chose to read after watching the movie about a dozen times
Shelves: blog, arkansas
I recently reread this book for a book club meeting and was just as struck by Portis's prose as I was the first time I read it. The movie version (which I watched repeatedly as a teenager) is surprisingly faithful to the book's narrative.

The story of the headstrong (sometimes obnoxiously so) Mattie's quest to kill the coward Tom Chaney is every bit as entertaining to me now as it was then. Of course, the real star of the book is the brutish and brash Rooster Cogburn, the U. S. Marshal Mattie hi
True Grit is a very simple and efficiently told tale of revenge and adventure. It has no frills or poetry, and the ebook that I read is less than one hundred and fifty pages. What makes this very short work exceptional are the completely original and entertaining characters.

Mattie Ross is one of my all-time favorite narrators. She straightforwardly recounts her adventure as a fourteen year old girl, determined to track down and wreak vengeance on the man who murdered her father. The narration i
Layla ✷ Praise the sun ✷
Feb 15, 2017 Layla ✷ Praise the sun ✷ rated it it was amazing
Shelves: western
I hadn't read anything remotely western ever since I secretly borrowed my strict grandfather's editions of Winnetou to read them whenever he wasn't paying close enough attention (view spoiler).

Then I came across True Grit and thought that the protagonist, an immensely headstrong 14 year old girl on a trip to avenge her father's murder, sound
Steve Lowe
Jan 01, 2011 Steve Lowe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The words True Grit have always conjured up one image for me. A chubby John Wayne taking one last shot at an Oscar by playing... John Wayne taking one last shot at an Oscar. But the novel True Grit is so much more than one gruff, memorable character like Rooster Cogburn. The narrator, Mattie Ross is just as much the hero.

Sure, as a 14-year old, she's a mouthy brat, especially for that time period, but she displays just as much grit as her hired hand, Cogburn. The power of the narrative (or monol
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Sep 15, 2013 Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this! Review coming eventually.
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Charles McColl Portis was born in 1933, in El Dorado Arkansas and was raised in various towns in southern Arkansas. He served in the Marine Corps during the Korean war and after his discharge in 1955 attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He graduated with a degree in journalism in 1958.

His journalistic career included work at the Arkansas Gazette before he moved to New York to work
More about Charles Portis...

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“You must pay for everything in this world one way and another. There is nothing free except the Grace of God. You cannot earn that or deserve it.” 161 likes
“Lookin' back is a bad habit.” 68 likes
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