I think I started this book back in August! I'm embarrassed to admit that, but it is true. Wow, it's been really hard to find time to read since school started. Hm...go figure.
But besides that, I had a really really slow start to this book. Westerns are not usually my favorites and I had my doubts about this book but took my chances. Boy am I glad I did. I never would have read this book if it hadn't been given to me as required reading before attending a Thomas Jefferson education Home Schooling Seminar in Portland this fall. The seminar was focusing on how to teach a piece of classic literature to your kids. Unfortunately, I never made it to the seminar. But I'm grateful for the motivation to pick up this book.
It wasn't until after I started reading that I learned that this book was the origins of a famous 1960's TV series. And after searching on You Tube, I discovered that there are much more recent films/shows based on this book as well. There was even a musical!
In a nut shell, it's that familiar old story line of boy meets girl. She's educated and has a family name to live up to. He's a rough and tumble cowboy with very little education but was blessed with intellect, courage, a keen conscience, wisdom, determination, vision, patience, and a work ethic that won't quit. He inevitably wins her over (though nearly missed his chance) and she is smitten by his ultimately superior character and charm.
But there are other story lines, or themes in this book, not the least of which is another familiar one: Obtaining the American Dream by overcoming any and all obstacles. Nothing can stop a dream from becoming reality in the wild west where men were truly free. Nothing, of course, except one's own self.
The book adeptly handles other delicate issues and moral questions such as class envy, religion (or lack thereof), and justice of the law in a land that was often lawless.
I loved this book. And, as is usually the case after I finish an excellent book, I find myself wishing that it were not over. I always feel like I've said good bye to a good friend that I will not see for a very long time when I finish a great piece of literature.
In fact, I was so taken by this book that I began to look for country side real estate and thought about adding some rustic decor to my home. There most certainly is a power in this book that brings to life an era when responsibility lie squarely upon the shoulders of the INDIVIDUAL (i.e. not the government) to make sure that he/she got what was wanted out of life. Something in me yearns for those times when the word "bailout' applied only to hay and not an entitlement-hungry, zoned out, morally decadent generation of has-been citizens.
I highly recommend this book. It offers lessons in nearly all areas of life including history, love, and the importance of life-long learning. I hope you enjoy it. If you have read it and have a comment to share, please do!