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True Grit by Charles Portis

True Grit (original 1968; edition 1968)

by Charles Portis

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,2401212,864 (4.15)1 / 211
Title:True Grit
Authors:Charles Portis
Info:Editions du Rocher, Edition: SERPENT A PLUMES, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:crime, 2013, male, USA, 60s

Work details

True Grit by Charles Portis (1968)

  1. 40
    Warlock by Oakley Hall (rickyrickyricky)
    rickyrickyricky: Another far-out, not-so-traditional western (and, incidentally, one of Thomas Pynchon's driving influences!).
  2. 30
    The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (ShelfMonkey)
  3. 10
    Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down by Ishmael Reed (rickyrickyricky)
    rickyrickyricky: Along with Warlock, completes the trifecta of far-out westerns written by misunderstood comic genius. Reed, Hall, Portis: In that order. Give this author the attention he deserves.
  4. 01
    Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Historical novel about a spunky, tomboy heroine struggling to survive the dangers of Civil War torn Missouri Ozarks. Sprinkled with humor.

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Flippin' fantastic! Mattie Ross is an irresistible combination of naive youthfulness, spunk, humor, and bravery - a force of nature. She's deadpan, shrewd, unrelenting, unsentimental, and still so charming and righteous. I listened to the audio version read by Donna Tartt. She did a great job. Now I'm reading the actual book myself. One day soon I'll get up the nerve to see the 2010 movie but I'm wary because I don't want to be disappointed. Off to see what else Charles Portis has written ... ( )
  libbromus | Apr 16, 2016 |
Loved this book! I never thought I would love a "Western" or find a strong heroine in a young girl in that same Western, especially one that was written by a man in the 1960s, but this is it! Will read this one again and keep it on my bookshelf! How wonderful that the recent movie was so true to the book. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
I have seen both movie versions and they are close but no cigar to reading the book. This particular audio version read by Danno Tartt is fantastic. Her love for this American classic shines through.

The book is about 14 year-old Mattie who feels she must catch the scoundrel who murdered her father. She enlists the help of Marshall Rooster Cogburn who is a man with many faults but who she feel has the grit to do the job. The story is set shortly after the Civil War and during a period of the Wild West as the country is trying to tame the country.

The story is told by an older Mattie as she recounts that moment in her life and then closes her present day. Charles Portis captures the characters and the time period in perfect detail. This is the type of story you can read again and again and I love the analogy of Mattie to Huck Finn by Donna Tartt.

I highly recommend this audio version. ( )
  yvonne.sevignykaiser | Apr 2, 2016 |
February 2012 re-listen: Mattie Ross’s dad is shot by Tom Cheney. Mattie hires Rooster Cogburn to track Tom Cheney. Plot and action and humor ensue. Hang on for the ride. The Epilogue is worth the price of admission: Mattie as a middle-aged woman visits a carnival sideshow in order to catch up w/ Rooster. Of the two men Mattie initially encounters, one doesn't stand to greet her, as befits a gentleman. To him, Mattie offers one of novel's best lines: “Keep your seat, trash.”

July 2011: Loved this. Fast, entertaining, expertly plotted, and above all very funny. I'll most certainly read this again. Quick note: the audiobook version is narrated by Donna Tartt. Tartt is a southerner and man oh man can she drawl. Her voice seems perfectly suited to the novel's protagonist and supporting characters; i.e., her voice added to the novel's not insignificant charms. In fact, I wish that Donna Tartt would narrate every single audiobook I ever listen to again.

True Grit's actual narrator, 14-y.o. Mattie Ross, is a gem. (Actually, confusingly [= only for this review; i.e., the novel isn't confusing], Mattie is a middle-aged woman narrating a story that happened to her when she was 14.) We learn almost immediately that Mattie's father has been shot by a scoundrel, and she now seeks that scoundrel. To bring the scoundrel to justice, then, is her desired object. Mattie needs a man with true grit for the job. And that man is Rooster Cogburn. Assisting them is a Texas Ranger named Le Boef (Lah-Beef). Mattie quotes scripture, and passes judgment just as easily.

I haven't heard a narratorial voice this self-serious and engaging since Confederacy of Dunce's Ignatius Reilley. Run don't walk to read this book. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
UPDATED: 03June15 - second reading
5***** and a ❤

Audiobook performed by Donna Tartt

Mattie Ross, a 14-year-old girl from Dardanelle Arkansas, sets out in the winter of Eighteen-Seventy-something to avenge the murder of her father. The story is narrated by Mattie some 25 years after the events she relates occurred. She hires Marshall Rooster Cogburn, the meanest available US Marshal, to track the murderer and insists that she will go along. They are further accompanied by LeBeouf, a Texas Ranger (so he says) who is also tracking the same man. Mattie doesn’t want him along because she wants to see Chaney brought to justice in Arkansas and she feels Rooster has the “true grit” to get the job done.

I loved Mattie, who is confident and determined, especially so for a young woman of the era. As Mattie tells the tale we see her outmaneuver, out bargain, and outsmart the hard men and women she encounters. Her indestructible vitality and basic innocence by turns amuse, horrify and touch the reader. What happens to Mattie – and the gang of outlaws unfortunate enough to tangle with her – rings with the dramatic rightness of legend.

On reflection – it is Mattie, herself, who displays true grit.

The novel has been adapted to film twice. The first movie, which stars John Wayne in his only Oscar-winning role as Rooster Cogburn, changes the ending. The 2010 film, starring Jeff Bridges in the iconic role, is much more faithful to the book. But I have a soft spot for John Wayne, and fond memories of watching that version over and over again with my Daddy, so it remains a favorite.

The audiobook is capably narrated by Donna Tartt. It includes an afterword written by Tartt in which she talks about the importance of this novel in her young life, and compares it to several other works, including [Huckleberry Finn]. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 17, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Portis, Charlesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Asmussen, DesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tartt, DonnaAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159020459X, Paperback)

Charles Portis has long been acclaimed as one of America's foremost comic writers. True Grit is his most famous novel--first published in 1968, and the basis for the movie of the same name starring John Wayne. It tells the story of Mattie Ross, who is just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shoots her father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and $150 in cash money. Mattie leaves home to avenge her father's blood. With the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshal, by her side, Mattie pursues the homicide into Indian Territory.

True Grit is eccentric, cool, straight, and unflinching, like Mattie herself. From a writer of true cult status, this is an American classic through and through. This new edition, with a smart new package and an afterword by acclaimed author Donna Tartt, will bring this masterpiece to an even broader audience.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:52 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Mattie Ross is just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shoots her father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and $150 in cash money. Mattie leaves home to avenge her father's blood. With the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshal, by her side, Mattie pursues the homicide into Indian Territory.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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