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True Grit / by Charles Portis

True Grit - Donna Tartt, Charles Portis

Let me start by saying that I have never seen either of the True Grit movies.  I was only vaguely aware that there was a young girl at the center of the story, and that John Wayne once played a character named Rooster Cogburn, but I had no idea what movie that character was from.  So True Grit the book is my experience with True Grit.


There is a simplicity about True Grit that appealed to me.  The writing is clean, uncomplicated and precise.  There is no fluff in this book.  Mattie is out to bring the man who killed her father to justice.  She's not admiring scenery, she's not learning big life lessons, she's not coming of age.  She doesn't have time for foolishness, or really even sentiment.   She is not a baby, she is not out here playing.  She's got a mission, and she fully intends to fulfill it, come hell or high water, consequences be damned, let's get this show on the road, there is work to be done.


Because Mattie is no-nonsense, the book moves at a good clip.  This story gets rolling right out of the gate, says what it's got to say, and when all that needs to be said is said, it's done.  The last sentence is "This ends my true account of how I avenged Frank Ross's blood over in the Choctaw Nation when snow was on the ground."  Crisp, to the point, and starkly beautiful, just like the rest of the book.  A simple pleasure to read.