Another book review blog?!?

Yes because people ask "Have you read anything good lately?" And I have. From a class ...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Last Picture Show

Author: McMurtry, Larry 
Title: The Last Picture Show 
Publication Date: 1966 (1ST pub.) 1979 (Penguin Books)
Number of pages: 220 p. (trade pbk.)
Part of a Series: Last Picture Show series, book #1 (4 books in series)

Subject Heading(s):   
  • Adultery  
  • Coming of age  
  • Dating  
  • Death  
  • High school seniors  
  • Literary fiction  
  • Male friendship  
  • Man woman relationships  
  • Oil workers  
  • Psychological fiction  
  • Rich and poor
  • Small towns  
  • Teenagers – Sexuality  
  • Thalia, Texas
  • The Fifties (20th century)  
  • Western stories
Geographical Setting / Time period: Thalia, Texas (imaginary place) / late 1940s – early 1950s

Main Character(s):
Sonny – a handsome, introspective young man, given to bouts of depression and loneliness
Duane – Sonny’s friend, Duane is less reflective but hopelessly in love with the town’s prettiest girl
Ruth Popper – a small but pretty woman who seems withdrawn, tired, and nervous most of the time

Plot Summary: Sonny and his best friend, Duane, navigate the perils of late adolescence in the small town of Thalia, Texas. Although the boys think they are practically grown men, Sonny finds he has a lot to learn when he meets Ruth Popper, the football coach’s forty-year old wife. Sonny and Duane learn about life, death, betrayal, and love in this coming of age tale.

Appeal: Characterization is the main appeal factor for this book. The main characters are fully developed and there are a lot of interesting secondary characters. The frame of the small Texas town of Thalia is also very important, as is the bittersweet coming of age aspect of the story. McMurtry’s elegant, yet direct language makes for an engrossing story.

Brief quote: “She was silent a moment. ‘Do you know what it means to be heartbroken?’ she said. ‘It means your heart isn’t whole, so you can’t really do anything wholeheartedly.’” (Ruth talking to Sonny, p. 97)

Prizes or Awards: Jesse H. Jones Award from the Texas Institute of Letters in 1967 (has won this for two other titles as well)

Similar Works:
 Cormac McCarthy – Border Trilogy (All the Pretty Horses 1st book) – Texas author ; stories of the west ; adolescents and 1950s
John Irving – The World According to Garp – strong character development with good dialogue
Ken Kesey – Sometimes a Great Notion – vivid characters, strong dialogue

Notes: Made into a movie starring Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, and Cybill Shepherd in 1971

Reviewer’s Name: Jennifer Lehner


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