Simon & Schuster, 1968, 215 pages
Mattie Ross, a 14-year-old girl from Dardanelle, Arkansas, sets out to avenge her Daddy who was shot to death by a no-good outlaw. Mattie convinces one-eyed "Rooster" Cogburn, the meanest U.S. marshal in the land, to ride along with her. In True Grit, we have a true American classic, as young Mattie, as vital as she is innocent, outdickers and outmaneuvers the hard-bitten men of the trail in a legend that will last through the ages.
( 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 strange then, though I will say it did not happen every day.Collapse )
Verdict: The movies are almost as good as the book, but read the book to hear the story told by the toughest little girl ever to roam the Wild West. If Mattie Ross had an ounce of humility, self-consciousness, self-awareness, or reasonableness, she wouldn't be nearly as entertaining, but she doesn't, which makes her awesome. A very simple, engaging story with great characters (even though Mattie outshines them all), True Grit is a true classic which should be enjoyed even by people who don't normally like westerns. Personally, I think it should be on the books1001 list. It may not exactly be "literary," but there are certainly books on the 1001 books list that are neither as "classic" nor as good as True Grit.