Lonesome Dove – Larry McMurtry. My magnificent obsession.
It doesn’t happen often, but when I read a book I really love, it gets under my skin and infects my soul and I live it, breathe it, and preach it until I get it out of my system, or all of my friends and family start avoiding me.
It hasn’t happened for a long time, but FINALLY I have found such a book.
Many years ago my old mate Millsy INSISTED that I read “Lonesome Dove” when he found out I was a librarian. In fact, he was horrified that I hadn’t already read it as it is THE BEST BOOK EVER. I was horrified when I looked it up and found out it was a COWBOY book! AS if I would read such a thing – I am cultured and refined after all and have high standards about what I read!
Years later another dear friend Des also recommended I read Lonesome Dove. By this time, I was thoroughly disillusioned with modern books – there’s only so many times one can reread “Great Expectations” – so I decided to give it a go – if only to keep my two dear friends happy. I thought I would read a chapter a day – it’s a seriously large tome – and eventually plough through it.
From the first chapter introducing me to the two retired Texas Rangers, Gus and Call, and the two blue pigs I was hooked! Finally – a book with plot, action and great characters! A great hero myth of Texas! Soon enough I was rationing myself to a chapter a day so I could keep on reading this great story. I couldn’t help myself though and I would sneakily read a chapter while the peas cooked, in the ad breaks of my favourite shows, before it was time to race off to work – in short – I was hooked and obsessed!
When I think about it, there is every reason the cowboy genre should appeal to me. I am of the generation that happily misspent their youth playing cowboys and Indians and watching Audy Murphy midday cowboy movies and Rin Tin Tin in the evenings. And let’s face it – what’s not to love about a cowboy? Yehah!
Recently I went on a family holiday with various cousins, second cousins, cousins once removed and grandchildren. We were lucky enough to find a copy of the miniseries of Lonesome Dove at the local library (the one with Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones – don’t touch any other version) and we were all riveted to it for the duration of the holiday. There was no dvd player where we stayed, so we all huddled up together on the couch – kids and adults- in front of a tiny laptop and lapped it up. My cousin in America was listening to it on audiobook at the same time and texting and emailing when she reached significant parts of the narrative .Since then I have purchased the dvd and watched it again with my partner. We all fell in love with Gus and Call and cried when the bad things happened – let’s face it, this is the Wild West and it ain’t always going to be a happy ending.
So, I have now infected the whole family with the “Lonesome Dove” virus. We are all addicted and obsessed.
I rang my old friend Millsy and we talked for hours about the book (we hadn’t spoken in over ten years). I have been having lively “Lonesome Dove” Facebook conversations with Des. My cousins near and far have been texting and emailing me on a daily basis with thoughts on the book and miniseries. We have all commiserated together over the sad parts, and laughed together over the funny parts. In short, the book has reconnected me with my childhood, old friends, family, and my inner cowgirl.
I now spend my time searching for cowgirl boots and fringed vests as I have discovered my wardrobe is severely deficient in these items. I have been borrowing books on Texas and American Indian culture – and yes – I’ll admit – I’ve taken a few “Rawhide” dvd’s home to watch.
A good book is hard to find – but once you do – your life is never the same again.
As for a review of the actual book – I have nothing more to say than just read the durn thang!
Anyway, I have to go – I think I might go lasso me a few cows and look into some fares to Arizona. Lucky for me my favourite cousin just moved there – how’s that for luck! She’s read the book too, so I’m sure I’ll have no trouble convincing her to come on a cattle drive from Texas to Montana.
I’ll hand over to my dear friend Des now for the review.
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