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The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry

The Last Picture Show (original 1966; edition 1966)

by Larry McMurtry

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1,102None7,514 (3.94)52
Title:The Last Picture Show
Authors:Larry McMurtry
Info:The Dial Press (1966), Edition: First Printing, Hardcover
Collections:Your library, Favorites, Read

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The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry (1966)

  1. 00
    Empire Falls by Richard Russo (browner56)
    browner56: Although separated by half a century and half the country, Thalia, Texas and Empire Falls, Maine could be the same dreary and decaying small town.

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I really can't get into a book that doesn't pass the Bechdel test. I realize it's a product of its time, but I don't know how a book about a bunch of men, where women are relegated to jealous sex partners, has any relevance to my life whatsoever. None of the characters were particularly likable, except for the ones that get killed off. ( )
  lemontwist | Apr 10, 2014 |
I am always a sucker for coming-of-age stories, and this one did not disappoint. It was my first time reading McMurtry's fiction, and I really enjoyed it. The neat thing about this book is that I spent three years in the area that McMurtry writes about (Archer City, Texas, and its environs), so I could easily picture the setting. The characters who live in Thalia (the fictional Archer City) think of and refer to nearby Wichita Falls as a city, which I found highly amusing. Yes, technically it is a city, but hardly what materializes in the mind when one imagines a city. Recommended to fans of male-centric coming-of-age stories. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 5, 2014 |
I read this for one of my f2f book groups, at at first was not wowed at all. In fact, I complained to Jim that it was too episodic and repetitive. But I was quite pleased as the story went on. Mc Murtry does bring the threads together nicely at the end.

It's hard to imagine what it must be like to grow up in a small, small town like that, with few opportunities for privacy, growth, ambition or escape. Yet I know it exists all over, a foreign land right next to my own. ( )
  ffortsa | Jan 18, 2014 |
My Book Group decided to read The Last Picture Show this month.

Larry McMurtry so amazed me with Lonesome Dove a looooooooong book of the Old West where you get to the end and say "Thats all? No More? ". So I was curious to hear how he would be on the not-so-old west of the 1950's.

Small town Texas. Truman in the White House. Oil wells and family farms. Kids going to school in a hardscrabble town and wondering what the heck life has to offer next. High school basketball. Sex and brawling and menial jobs and driving your truck the heck out of town, mostly.

And learning about sex (Sometimes, the hard way.)

And finding love.

(And high school kids going to nude swimming parties?? Not where I grew up, bub.)

Well, it's an early book in his career and sometimes that shows. He's not afraid to be vulgar and he's not afraid to be sentimental. (Even dare I say it a little soap opera-y)

There are heroes and villians in his story, but he wisely lets you make up your mind about which is which.

And if it's hard not to see Cloris Leachman and Cybil Shepard when you read it, that doesn't hurt the story much a-tall.

Enjoyed it. Enjoyed talking about it too.
  magicians_nephew | Dec 11, 2013 |
I was recommended this when I was quite young maybe 15 or so by a college guy I knew when I told him I was interested in writing. Took me about 20 years to get around to reading it.

I think I agree with librarything user danielx that in some ways the sex dimension of this book is the main dimension that saves this from being a bit of a bore.

I certainly felt sympathetic to the characters but on the other hand they don't really get to me much. Again I agree with danielx that the characters don't have much depth.

This issue of likeable but not very interesting is highlighted by a comparison with Stegner's "The Big Rock Candy Mountain". Obviously these books are very different, but the characters there, particularly Bo Mason and his wife are much more difficult to like. Their flaws are much more a part of who they are. But as a result they really dug much deeper into me.

In both books characters die. In "The Last Picture Show" I had barely any reaction at all. I just kept on with the story. The deaths in Stegner's work were really moving experiences because so much more was tied up with the characters.

This book was an enjoyable enough way to pass some time, but there's not much substance despite the fact that it had some pretty surprising stuff in it. ( )
  globulon | Oct 16, 2013 |
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"The Last Picture Show" is lovingly dedicated to my home town.
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Sometimes Sonny felt like he was the only human creature in the town.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684853868, Paperback)

In The Last Picture Show Larry McMurtry introduced characters who would show up again in later novels, Texasville and Duane's Depressed. This first volume of the trilogy drops the reader into the one-stoplight town of Thalia, Texas, where Duane Moore, his buddy Sonny, and his girlfriend Jacy are all stumbling along the rocky road to adulthood. Duane wants nothing more than to marry Jacy; Sonny wants what Duane has; and Jacy wants to get the hell out of Thalia any way she can. This is not a novel of big ideas or defining moments; over the course of a year Duane and Jacy make up and break up, Sonny begins an affair with his high-school football coach's wife, and the only movie house in town closes its doors forever. Yet it is out of these small-town experiences--a nude swimming party in Wichita, a failed sexual encounter during a senior trip, a botched elopement, an enlistment--that McMurtry builds his tale and reveals his characters' hearts. No epiphanies here, just a lot of hard-won experience that leaves none of his protagonists particularly wiser, though they're all a little sadder by the end. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:50 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The youth of a small town in mid-twentieth-century Texas search for ways to escape boredom and experience life and love.

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (3.94)
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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