True Grit (Charles Portis) - 1968 - The Overlook Press (2010) - 235 pages

This is a brilliant western novel by author Portis who uses 14-year-old Mattie Ross as the narrator describing her quest to avenge the murder of her father.  Although I am not an expert on 19th century teenage girls, I think that the result is a very engaging story that fairly depicts the times and the ruggedness of Fort Smith, Arkansas and the native surroundings.  The novel was quickly made into a major movie in 1969 starring John Wayne and Kim Darby.  Although their performances were excellent, they did not have the luxury of the excellent screenplay and direction of the Coen brothers.  It has been forty years since I saw the original movie, but I believe that the 2010 version was much truer to this wonderful novel.  This was the second of only five novels by Mr. Portis who has only published a few magazine articles since his last novel (Gringos) in 1991. [JAM 3/1/2011]