Books: True Grit

14 year old Mattie Ross is determined to find her father’s killer and bring him to justice. Her father was killed by a recently hired hand named Tom Chaney. So, Mattie travels from Dardanelle in Yell County, Arkansas to Fort Smith, Arkansas to receive her father’s remains. At Fort Smith, she searches for a man with true grit to capture Chaney. She finds Marshal Rooster Cogburn and enlists his help. Mattie also comes across a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf who has been searching for Chaney. Mattie wants to accompany the men in the search. The men resist the idea. But Mattie is resourceful and determined.

Charles Portis, the author, narrates a tale of vengeance. The novel is written as a first hand account by Mattie Ross, several years after the events in the novel. The events takes place a few years after the Civil War. Portis details the changing world through the eyes of Mattie. Mattie has not seen much of the world outside her ranch. Being the first child and smart beyond her age, she has been helping her dad in his business. Her political views are limited and her wisdom comes from the Bible. All these factors contribute to telling a tale of vengeance that touches you. Portis uses a lot of idioms and way of speaking from a foregone era which throws a lot of insight into times in which the characters lived. The style of language brings in clarity to the times and the plot never ever straying from Mattie’s viewpoint. The accelerated adulthood of Mattie and her righteous talk lingers in your mind even after you put down the novel.

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Tags: Books,Charles Portis


  1. Seems like a great story. What abt the film?

  2. @Tomz - I have seen the John Wayne one. I have also written a review of the old one. I have yet to watch the latest one featuring Jeff Bridges. The movie releases in France next week. I plan to watch it soon.


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