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True Grit by Charles Portis (30-Oct-2012)…

True Grit by Charles Portis (30-Oct-2012) Paperback (1968)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,9781942,769 (4.15)1 / 309
Mattie Ross, a fourteen-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.… (more)
Title:True Grit by Charles Portis (30-Oct-2012) Paperback
Info:Overlook Press; Reprint edition (30 Oct. 2012)
Collections:Your library

Work Information

True Grit by Charles Portis (Author) (1968)

  1. 60
    The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (ShelfMonkey)
  2. 40
    Warlock by Oakley Hall (tootstorm)
    tootstorm: Another far-out, not-so-traditional western (and, incidentally, one of Thomas Pynchon's driving influences!).
  3. 10
    News of the World by Paulette Jiles (KatyBee)
  4. 10
    Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down by Ishmael Reed (tootstorm)
    tootstorm: 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.
  5. 00
    The Which Way Tree by Elizabeth Crook (amelielyle)
    amelielyle: Each of these enthralling yarns is a coming of age story in which the youthful narrator bravely faces the cruelties and dangers of life in an untamed western wilderness. Each comes to maturity in facing situations far too difficult for their tender ages. Touches of humor lighten the tone of two otherwise serious plotlines.… (more)
  6. 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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 Westerns: True Grit5 unread / 5Sergeirocks, December 2016

» See also 309 mentions

English (190)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (194)
Showing 1-5 of 190 (next | show all)
This is the second western I have ever read. Sometimes I found it a bit slow and other times action came out of nowhere and shocked me. Had a couple of laughs. Cringed a few times. Pretty violent at the end (I think that's typical for westerns?). ( )
  Jenn4567 | Mar 3, 2023 |
The novel is told from the perspective of a woman named Mattie Ross, who recounts the time when she was 14 and sought retribution for the murder of her father by a scoundrel, Tom Chaney. It is considered by some critics to be "one of the great American novels.
  CalleFriden | Feb 18, 2023 |
What a wonderful book! I had never seen the John Wayne movie (or the more recent version) but I guess I had an bad image in my mind from movie publicity. Anyway the hero, Mattie, turns out to be a charmingly insufferable 14 year old who is opinionated, deadly serious, clever, tough, and also a little bit of a kid.

I’m sure I would have loved reading the story anyway, but I listened to the audiobook narrated by famous writer Donna Tartt (who knew the author) and she gives Mattie and the others superb southern accents.

I read another book years ago by Portis and liked it (The Dog of the South) - I guess I need to hunt up some more. ( )
  steve02476 | Jan 3, 2023 |
Great book - if I hadn't seen the movie multiple times, I would have enjoyed this more, so I am giving the 5 stars it deserves. Even knowing what was going to happen in advance, it was still an enjoyable read.

If you haven't seen the movie, read the book first for maximum enjoyment.

Btw, both movie versions are great. ( )
  rjdycus | Dec 19, 2022 |
It is the rare book that delivers a unique and complete voice, unadulterated, without shaving off the rough edges. Mattie Ross, Charles Portis’ young teen heroine in [True Grit] is just such a pure voice.

[True Grit] is told entirely by Mattie, re-told really, as though recounting the events toward the end of her life to someone close to her, someone with whom she shared a trust. So, how much of Mattie’s story is accurately reflected in the pages of the book? How much of the antics and character of Rooster Cogburn or LaBouef can we believe? How much of the speech and eccentricities of these rough men are true to life? Remember, we are viewing the entire story through the eyes of a lonely, and bitter from the sound of it, spinster who lived through the adventures when she was just fourteen-years-old. And these particular fourteen-year-old eyes are filtered through fundamentalist religion and the politics of 1890’s democrats.

Whether Mattie was an accurate historian or not, her story suggests a deeper issue – are we accurate historians of our own lives? Mattie describes how she left home to attend to the affairs of her recently murdered father. At fourteen, she ties up the loose ends of her father’s legal and business affairs with the acumen we would attribute to someone skilled in the art of ‘fixing.’ She enlists the services of the most brutal man she can find to help her catch a man at the top of his game in the art of con and vice. She hits the trail with this hard-drinking, hair-triggered brute, and manages to tame him somewhere along the trail. With Rooster’s help, and LeBouef’s, she exacts her revenge, and survives a nest of rattlesnakes. If you’re looking for realism, the story itself stretches the boundaries. But, perhaps because it is told by Mattie herself, all of it has the absolute ring of truth. The question is whether it is the truth or the truth that Mattie’s told herself through many years of living alone and caring for an ailing mother.

That question is one we could all put to ourselves. If nothing else, Portis manages to secure Mattie as someone who knows who she is and what has made her who she is. Portis’ subtlety in telling Mattie’s story in her own voice is magical, allowing us to see the hazy light just through the veil of her own peculiarities and grasp the point of her story, and his. Everyone begins to recreate the history of their own lives, re-shaping and excising the outlying facts when they don’t conform to the story we want to tell. In the end, Portis bedevils us all with a story about taming the beasts that lay hidden deep inside of us all. Mattie tames her fears and tames her own strong will to live through the adventure. Mattie helps Rooster to tame his own demons, ones created in blood and immorality. Mattie and Rooster help LaBouef tame his ego and pride to become something greater than himself. So, we forgive Mattie if she doesn’t tell everything just as it happened – just as our friends and family forgive us when the details go awry but the story makes its point; just as we forgive ourselves for re-shaping our own history if it helps us become who we need to be.

On a side note, this particular edition is graced with an afterword by Donna Tartt, she of [The Goldfinch] fame. Tartt explains her own fascination with Portis’ epic Old West tale, finding it the intersection of the frontier with chivalry. With apologies to Ms. Tartt, chivalry was not absent in the frontier, it was everywhere. The point she makes is that Rooster’s nobility seems to arise in his interaction with Mattie and her quest. I believer Portis gives us enough of Rooster’s background to see that he was a noble man at some point, even if he’s lost his way. So, I believe that the point, while well-taken, is slightly missed. My own take is that Roster regains lost nobility that was always there, he is able to tame the demons created by his poor choices, just as Mattie’s own nobility shines through the obsessive will and pride of her character.

Bottom Line: A tale of redemption, of people taming their demons and proving their nobility.

4 ½ bones!!!!!
  blackdogbooks | Dec 16, 2022 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Portis, CharlesAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Asmussen, DesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tartt, DonnaAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my mother and father
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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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Mattie Ross, a fourteen-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.

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