Karyl's Reviews > Montana 1948

Montana 1948 by Larry Watson
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's review
Apr 10, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: bookstore-finds, 2012, favorites
Read from April 10 to 11, 2012

What an amazing, perfect little book! I picked this up from a charity booksale, and I am ever so glad I did. David is twelve in the summer of 1948, living in a small town in Montana. His father is the sheriff, a post handed down from his father, though he never wears his badge. His uncle is the local war hero, a former high school athlete, and the soldier who single-handedly saved several men from certain death in WWII. Yet neither of these men, indeed, none of the adults in David's life, are quite what they seem, and this formative summer, right at the beginning of David's adolescence, has far-reaching consequences.

The afterword, by David Huddle, 1993 National Fiction Prize Judge, sums it up best: "Montana 1948 is a shining example of a literary work that demonstrates how a disturbing truth is preferable to a comforting lie. This story makes you turn its pages as fast as your favorite detective novel, but when you finish it, you have received gifts of permanent value -- an appreciation of the moral complexity of our history, a refined sense of our weakness and our strength, and a profoundly improved understanding of the American character."

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Amy (new)

Amy Really? I remember reading this and being full of "enh".

Karyl Well, you know, to each her own. You love The Handmaid's Tale far more than I did. Plus I think how I'm feeling emotionally has a lot to do with how I feel about a book, or a song, or a tv show, at the time. The first time I heard the song "Terrible Love" by The National I wept like a baby. Clearly not the reaction I have all the time, but it hit me just so at the time. Maybe that's what happened with this book. I did really enjoy it; it was so strongly yet simply written. Then again, I just read a terribly-written book before this one, so maybe it's the contrast between the two that's making me love it so.

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