Rating: 3.5 / 5
LONESOME DOVE by Larry McMurtry was the November/December pick for the #classicsbuddyread on Bookstagram. Westerns have never been my go to genre (and that isn’t going to change), but I am glad that I gave this one a go!
LONESOME DOVE begins in the little town of the same name in the Texas. It is a world populated by cowboys, outlaws, whores, settlers and Indians. A group of men, many of them retired Texas Rangers, set out to take cattle to Montana, but the journey is full of perils from injury to death, love and family to betrayal and heartbreak. The story of the cattle drive is interspersed with other stories which give insight into the rough life faced by many in the late1800s.
I struggled with this book at first and some of that was the audiobook. This is definitely an older book with a single narrator for a huge cast of characters and less than ideal sound quality. The narrator is also pretty dry without a lot of distinction between characters which made it a bit harder to settle in. About 100 pages or so into the story, I was finally feeling more connected to the characters and able to enjoy the story much more.
This book certainly doesn’t pull punches with the difficulties of life for our characters and a happy ending is not to be expected for everyone. The perspective is definitely slanted toward the white settlers and the native population is not depicted a good light. That said, the depiction of many of the white settlers is not very positive either, especially in the way women are often treated. I was pleasantly surprised that some of the strongest characters actually were women in spite of their limited options in life. With few choices beyond whore or wife, we do get to see some women stand up for themselves.
Westerns will remain out of my comfort zone for genres, but I am glad to have given this a go. While I did enjoy it I am not feeling drawn to pick up either of the prequels or the sequel.