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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Book Review: The Virginian

The VirginianThe Virginian by Owen Wister

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book wasn’t at all what I expected. I dreaded reading it because I thought it would be dry, hard to read western, but it wasn’t at all dry. I do not think it is a “western” at all. It is the story of the untamed wilderness when men were men and justice was immediate and harsh. It had a rawness and adventure feel to it that I was delighted to see. The modern westerns owe their beginnings to books such as “The Virginian”.

I could not stand to put this book down. Its gentle humor, the influences, the rawness of life drew me in and worked together to make it a memorable book. This story took me off to the late 19th century to a small area in Wyoming and the stories of the people that lived and worked in that era. It was their story and stayed true to life. You meet the unnamed Tenderfoot and the Virginian (with a drawl that makes you swoon) and other cowboys and ranchers. You also meet the schoolmarm Molly Wood. Wister presents us with romance and the western tone and flavor.

The stories that make up the Virginian’s life are classic western life. the stories included poker, roping, gunfights, lynching of rustlers, even murder but there are light hearted stories about a crazy chicken name of Em’ly and a tall-tell of frog legs being just the thing in other states.

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