Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “True Grit” as Want to Read:
True Grit
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

True Grit

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  33,443 ratings  ·  4,506 reviews
In the 1870s, young Mattie Ross learns that her beloved father was gunned down by his former handyman. But even though this gutsy 14-year-old is seeking vengeance, she is smart enough to figure out she can't go alone after a desperado who's holed up in Indian territory. With some fast-talking, she convinces mean, one-eyed US Marshal "Rooster" Cogburn into going after the d ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published December 31st 2002 by Harry N. Abrams (first published May 21st 1968)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about True Grit, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Hal Issen In an interview, the crime novelist and screenwriter George Pelecanos listed "True Grit" as his favorite book of all time. Based on that alone, I'm…moreIn an interview, the crime novelist and screenwriter George Pelecanos listed "True Grit" as his favorite book of all time. Based on that alone, I'm going to add some of his books to my to-be-read list.

Thank you to everyone who suggested books in response to my question, and also to everyone who liked the question.(less)
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtryTrue Grit by Charles PortisBlood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthyAll the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthyBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
Best Westerns
965 books — 1,154 voters
Forrest Gump by Winston GroomThe Devil Wears Prada by Lauren WeisbergerJurassic Park by Michael CrichtonJumanji by Chris Van AllsburgMary Poppins by P.L. Travers
I Only Watched the Movie!
1,088 books — 5,989 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  33,443 ratings  ·  4,506 reviews

Sort order
Paul Bryant
Apr 19, 2016 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
Jul 05, 2016 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
Henry Avila
Jul 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of dynamic Mattie Ross, a spunky 14 -year -old girl, from Yell County Arkansas, who seeks justice , when her beloved father is treacherously murdered, on the streets by the reprehensible outlaw Tom Chaney in Fort Smith, in the Razorback State. Set in the late 1870's , the kid soon understands this, nobody wants to risk their precious life for free, to capture the dangerous fugitive . Informed that the one-eyed, patch wearing Rooster Cogburn, is the toughest marshal in town , working fo ...more
Nov 11, 2010 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
Jan 18, 2011 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
Feb 13, 2010 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
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
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
Sanjay Gautam
Dec 05, 2016 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 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
Joe Valdez
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: western
My introduction to the fiction of Charles Portis is True Grit, the 1968 novel that has long ranked at the top of my list of best opening sentences in any book. It's inspired two film adaptations, coming up short on lists of the best westerns for a lack of grandeur. But in literary form, Portis thrills with a strong point of view expressed through an unforgettable female protagonist, delights with frontier patois and satisfies the craving for a wonderfully spun yarn. It's a modestly ambitious sto ...more
Dec 23, 2016 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
Jan 12, 2015 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
Jul 06, 2016 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 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
"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. I was just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the 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 gold pieces that he carried in his trouser band."

So begins Charles P
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

Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished-in-2018
I was tempted to add this to my western shelf, but I don't HAVE a western shelf, because I don't read westerns. But True Grit is a pleasant surprise, a dark horse, a little page turner that could.

Quite simply, it's a classic mix of an upright, stubborn, and principled young girl out to avenge the murder of her father in post-Civil War Arkansas. She teams up with Rooster Cogburn, a wily old ask-no-questions marshal who brings them in more dead than alive, and a younger Texan dude named LaBoeuf (
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

Young Mattie Ross, fourteen & with the fires of revenge in her eyes, sets off across the perilous native lands of Arkansas with a drunkard Marshal & a Texas bounty hunter to lay justice at the feet of her father's killer.

If this premise sounds badass, it's because it absolutely is.

The best part of this novel is our narrator, Mattie Ross. She's fearless & armed with an intimidating knowledge of Bible scripture. Her story is spoken without the self-interest or m
Dec 30, 2016 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.
I needed a western to read for a challenge prompt and that is so far outside of my comfort zone, when a GR friend recommended this one.

True Grit was such a wonderfully told story, completely punched me in the gut towards the end and will be one that I will pay it forward and recommend to other friends to read. Mattie Ross is 14 and is ready to avenge her father's murder by Tom Chaney. She goes off to find a marshal with grit and meets Rooster Cogburn. Another Texas Ranger is also hunting for Mr
Oct 01, 2010 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
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

Because this is a well-loved classic, and especially because it is well-loved by some of my closest Goodreads friends, I feel I need to qualify my stars by saying, yes, I did like it. If I didn’t “really like” it, that’s merely because I get tired of ‘action’ rather quickly: as harrowing as Mattie’s last dilemma was, for me it went on too long (I know I have to be in the minority on that). I enjoyed the verbal interplay of the characters and the deadpan voice of Mattie, a woman looking
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I suspect most American’s have seen the movie versions of True Grit and have a fondness for them. Whether a fan of Henry Hathawy’s John Wayne/Kim Darby version or the Coen Brother's Jeff Bridges/Hailee Steinfeld version the movies are western classics.

I’ve often wondered how much of the original book was captured in these movies vs invented by the screen writers, actors and directors but was never interested in reading the book until I read Emily Temple’s article on Lit Hub calling True Grit’s
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, historical
4.5 stars

This was a great pleasure. Rarely do books come with as strong a voice as Mattie Ross's.
Oct 25, 2012 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
All I remember about it was that a kid fell into a rattlesnake den. Oh, my! What a nightmare that would have been. If you made it out alive you would have the fear of snakes forever embedded in your mind.

I had my own run in with a rattler. I lived in Creston, CA where the antelope never roamed but the rattlers did. You could drive down the country roads and sometimes see rattlesnake skins hanging over farmer's fences. I don't think that I feared them as much as I should have or I would not have
May 28, 2013 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
Fred Shaw
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By Charles Portis
Kindle format
5 Stars

True Grit, published in 1968, is considered a literary masterpiece and a classic western. It is so well written and entertaining that readers tend to reread this story over and over. Not just men either. Women love this story just as much… or so I am told.

Rueben (Rooster) Cogburn is a deputy US Marshal in Arkansas, and a civil war calvary veteran. He always gets his man but prisoners generally don’t return breathing. Rooster does his duty, but many d
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the Year i...: True Grit, by Charles Portis 2 13 Jan 22, 2018 04:18AM  
Volusia County Pu...: True Grit 1 3 Nov 06, 2017 02:38PM  
Never too Late to...: * {2017 August} Western: True Grit (The NOVEL) 41 41 Aug 29, 2017 06:38AM  
Never too Late to...: * [2017 August] Western: True Grit "The Debate over the 2 Movies!" 35 36 Aug 09, 2017 07:50AM  
American Westerns: July 2017 - True Grit 6 25 Jul 29, 2017 10:03AM  
Screen & Page: True Grit 1 1 Jun 03, 2017 08:02AM  
  • Little Big Man (Little Big Man #1)
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
  • Hombre
  • Gone to Texas
  • Woe to Live on
  • Shane
  • Deadwood
  • The Shootist
  • The Searchers
  • Welcome to Hard Times
  • Lord of the Flies
  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
  • Appaloosa (Virgil Cole & Everett Hitch, #1)
  • The Good Old Boys
  • The Big Sky (The Big Sky, #1)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • Mountain Man
  • Horseman, Pass By
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
“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.” 181 likes
“Nothing I like to do pays well.” 81 likes
More quotes…