Since it's publication in 1968, the novel True Grit by Charles Portis has been hailed as one of America's greatest stories and elevated the western novel to new literary heights. First published as a serial in the weekly magazine Saturday Evening Post, it was turned into a blockbuster movie the following year, starring the legendary actor John Wayne in his only Academy Award-winning performance.
At the heart of the novel is a young 14 year old girl, Mattie Ross, determined to find a trustworthy lawman who can assist in hunting down her father's killer Tom Chaney. The man possessing "true grit" Mattie seeks is the aging and overweight federal marshal Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn. Together they travel through lawless and untamed Indian Country and meet LeBoeuf, a young Texas Ranger who's also on the trail to bring in Tom alive.
The author, journalist Charles Portis brings the characters to life through dialog as they explore the meaning of friendship, and discover the price of keeping one's word. It's a book that captures the essence of the western novel, but will be enjoyed by anyone wanting to read a well-written book.
Free copies of the novel will be given out in October at each library location and during Irving Reads events.
[Discover more about True Grit on the NEA's Big Read website]