Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Lonesome Dove
So this was a BOTM book.  I had seen the miniseries when I was a child and vaguely remembered liking it but I didn’t remember any details, which is nice because I can take a fresh view of the book.  I thought I would like this book, I didn’t.  I didn’t absolutely hate it, but I wish I had checked it out of the library rather than purchasing it.
The book is originally set in Texas and is the story of a cattle drive to Montana by group that is led by retired Texas Rangers Call and Gus.  They have two of their fellow companions Deets and Pea Eye, and a young boy with them.  Plus some hands they hired on.  Along for the ride but separate are another of the former Ranger Jake and whore Lorena.  The description to Lonesome Dove Texas and the characters were so bleak. The characters felt depressing and dull, Lorena is hopeless, the hands are witless, the landscape is god awful. Thankfully, that feeling only lasted until about chapter 8 or this would have been a really long read.
I did not feel a connection with this book is ok and I do find that I want to know what happens, but I'm not excited about it. Sadly I barely took any notes while reading. Which says to me that I have pretty neutral feelings about the book.
What few notes I did take were about the female characters....why are they all whores? There were non whores in the west, why aren't they in the story? The female main characters are all either currently whores or previously whores and hiding it. Does Mr. McMurtry have poor opinions of women? And if the woman does have brains she is unliked and portrayed as a bitch.  For example July’s sister-in-law Peach is unlinked because she is an intelligent woman, but man someone in this book needs some brains.
The story is rambling and pointless, nobody seems to have a plan, even Call who is supposed to be this great worker. And I know that back in the west the there was little education, but that doesn't mean everybody was simple minded. The two characters that did have some brains and are made out to be eccentric old fools. And there were tons of death that just seemed pointless, like McMurtry created too many characters and didn’t know what to do with them so he killed them.

All that being said my favorite character is still Gus. He seems like a decent guy. He seems to genuinely care about people, which is a bit refreshing in this book.
This book reminds me so much of my dad, that I keep picturing him when reading, for example when Call gives Newt the gun and says "Better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it." I heard my dad saying it not Call. My dad says that sort of thing all the time. When ever I read a western I can't help but to compare the characters to my dad, he is one of the last real cowboys in my eyes. And the character that reminds me the most of him is Gus, the way he jabbers and sees things in the people around him is like my dad, but when it comes to actual verbiage, my dad is more like call. Also, the way Call never stops working reminds me of my dad, at 78 my dad is still breaking horses and works most of the day, although the ranch is smaller than it used to be.
I'm glad it is over. But it felt incomplete, leaving Newt and the boys in Montana while taking Gus back to Texas. Nothing seemed resolved,what was the point of the story?  I feel like I missed something. It gives me warm and fuzzies because of my dad, but that is it’s only redeeming thing.

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