When I learned I would have the pleasure of reviewing Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, I quite literally did a fist pump of victory. Simply stated, this is one of my all-time favorite novels, and one of the very few I would consider reading more than once. For that reason, I’ll not beat around the bush: I enthusiastically give this novel a full 5-star review. If I could give it more than 5-stars, I most certainly would.
So what’s it about?
I asked this question of those who originally recommended it to me, and the answer I received didn’t inspire enthusiastic thoughts: It’s the story about a bunch of old cowboys who go on a cattle drive.
Huh? How is that even remotely interesting? Why would I want to read about a cattle drive?
The answer is this: Just do it. I promise: You won’t be sorry.
Lonesome Dove is about a cattle drive, but it’s more than that. It’s about the strong ties of friendship between two former Texas Rangers, Captain August “Gus” McCrae and Captain Woodrow F. Call, two men who couldn’t be more different. While Call is stoic and serious, McCrae is often seen as more laid back and carefree. But the truth is that the two men, for all of their differences, are like yen and yang or two sides of the same coin. It’s almost a love story without the romance element. They complement each other and, while they seem to have nothing at all in common, they are simply not the same without the other.
Besides the main characters is a series of supporting cast members who round out the story…a 17 year old boy, the son of a prostitute, who suspects that Call might be his father; a young prostitute, Lorie, who just wants to get out of town; and the reprehensible coward, Jake Spoon, who abandons her and leaves her defenseless against the elements and those who would do her harm.
In truth, I sat down to read this book because I wanted to silence someone who insisted I read it…and so I talked my best friend (700 miles away) into reading it with me, just so I would have some company in what I thought would be a grueling read. To my surprise, it was action-packed, funny, heartbreaking, and truly one of the best books I’ve ever read.
Trust me – you don’t want to miss this book. If you read nothing else this year, pick up a copy of Lonesome Dove. You won’t be sorry!