Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Big Sky by A. B. Guthrie, Jr.


The Big Sky
by A. B. Guthrie, Jr.
1947
*
1 star - ugh
ALR Green - for 100 or so pages anyway


The sequel to The Big Sky, The Way West, was next on the Pulitzer list but after reading reviews of The Way West, I opted to sample Mr. Guthrie's writing through The Big Sky.

I persevered through just over 100 pages hoping that I could get past the writing to enjoy a glimpse of life in "America's vast frontier." But seriously?

What's missing here is any insight at all into what the characters are thinking, feeling, their motivations. I suppose that's why it's a "great adventure story." Don't want to muddy the waters with any of that mushy stuff.

The book starts with a bang as 17 year old Boone Caudhill decides setting out on his own is better than living with his abusive father. A bit abrupt, but when his father hunts him down with a posse and Boone is forced to run for his life, well, yeah, that was well written and a good adventure.

But then we descend into neither action nor drama, but a recitation of this happened, that happened, he said (no she said in this novel). Even the ever sparser action scenes began to lose their bite. Boone finds himself on some sort of boat traveling the Missouri river. They've got an Indian princess on board that they plan to use in a trade activity that wasn't clear to me. Whatever. 

The dust jacket promises that Boone will become the true love of "the beautiful daughter of a Blackfoot chief." Given the writing style, I super wanted to bail before that happened. I can only imagine how that would be written. More the fantasy of a middle school male than any sort of balanced character study. No thanks.

Fear not, dear friends, I am now reading a memoir which has the potential for five stars (if it doesn't bog down along the way).

1 comment:

  1. You've had a lot of bummers lately. I hope your memoir lives up to its potential.

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