For this week's assigned title, the class read Doc by Mary Doria Russell, a novel about the famed dentist-turned-gunslinger, Doc Holliday. While a few members of the class with great interest in the OK Corral and Holliday's life raved about this book, I found myself agreeing with others who found it slow and hard to get through. It's well-written and thoroughly researched, but if you're not into westerns or the beginning of popular American dentistry – don't bother.
The book that I opted to read this week is a classic western: Hondo by Louis L'Amour. Again, I found myself struggling to get through it because of its slow pacing, but readers of the genre claim it is one of the best. It's definitely a "must-read" selection as far as westerns go, but nothing I would naturally recommend to the casual reader. Below is my review of the acclaimed Hondo – a great book, but one that I did not personally enjoy.
I give this book:
In the baking sun of the Arizona frontier Hondo Lane, a lone government dispatch rider and sharp-shooter, roams the desert scouting for Apaches braves. When he comes upon a secluded ranch deep in the heart of Indian territory, Hondo meets the beautiful Angie Lowe and her young son Johnny. Hondo can’t understand what sort of man would leave his wife and child alone in such a hostile environment, and Angie immediately feels more at peace with a strong male presence around.
After Hondo exchanges some labor for one of Angie’s horses, he heads back to the fort only to discover the remains of a brutal Apache attack along the way. Suddenly worried about Angie and Johnny’s safety, he begins to contemplate disobeying orders and returning to the ranch. Meanwhile, Apache chief Vittoro and his men begin to make repeated visits to the farmstead, leaving Angie and her son wondering if and when the mysterious man will return.
Canonical western author Louis L’Amour transports us into the rugged frontier with this enduring genre classic. A traditional western with a little bit of romance, this book was reportedly dubbed the “finest western” John Wayne had ever read. With a slower pace and befitting cowboy speak throughout; Hondo reminds its readers of a simpler time in America’s past.
As for this cowgirl, I don't see myself picking up another western any time soon ... there's just too many other good books out there waiting to be read!