"What does a woman want? Rodeo and Juliet," concludes Maureen Dowd of the New York Times as she mulls over the greater sociological implications of Sara Davidson's Cowboy: A Love Story. Davidson made her mark with Loose Change, a lively account of young women coming of age and sleeping around in the '60s. Now in her 50s, she has mapped another trend: taking lovers low on the social food chain. In Cowboy, which she describes as a "fictionalized memoir," Davidson chronicles her real-life affair with Richard Goff, a rawhide braider who sports turquoise boots and has never heard of Anne Frank. She's 10 years his senior, was educated at Berkeley and Columbia, and was the lead director and co-executive producer of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Improbable match? You bet your Stetson.
The two were tethered in 1993 when Davidson covered a cowboy poetry festival in Elko, Nevada, for the New York Times (which he seemed to think was a multiplication problem). When she returned to Los Angeles, he sent gushy, grammatically challenged letters and leathery trinkets of affection. Davidson flew her Marlboro man in for the weekend; what she thought would be an overnight fling blossomed into a romance that has lasted years. From work and family to education and upbringing, their relationship has tested every aspect of Davidson's life: her prepubescent children won't let her forget they want the "hick" gone, her ex is threatening to take the kids away, and supporting her trailer-bound buckaroo is straining her career. Fortunately, her friends give their blessing: "When you're 49, your close, true friends don't care if he's the Elephant Man, as long as you're happy."
Cowboy is down-to-earth, charming, and shameless. You can't help but root for the heroine when she's plagued with self-doubt, even if the love scenes gallop out of control: "I grabbed his hair and yanked his head back. 'God! You'll quit bucking and I'll have my way with you!" Still, it's a testament that love comes in many packages and at any age. Yee-haw! --Rebekah Warren
From Publishers Weekly
In this fictionalized memoir, Davidson, the former head writer for television's Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and author (Loose Change, Real Property, etc.), tells of her relationship with "Zack," a courtly and uneducated cowboy she meets on assignment in Elko, Nev., at a cowboy poetry gathering. She's soon drawn in by his sensitive nature and forthright sexuality, which she finds a refreshing contrast to the high-strung men she has met through the personals in L.A. following her divorce. But she's also pulled up short time and again by the cultural chasm between her life writing for a major TV show and his, getting by on crafting horse tack in Phoenix. As Sara and Zack see more of each other, her prepubescent children contrive to drive the two apart, while Zack provides his own brand of "tough love." Meanwhile, Sara's ex-husband disapproves of Zack's extended visits and tries to take custody of the children. Sara's friends and co-workers on the set of Dr. Quinn have a range of reactions to Zack, though no one gives the affair too much credence. Overall, this is an affable if wide-eyed account of the mixed emotions usually attending relationships that bridge cultural divides. Readers with Marlboro Man fantasies may find it a page turner. Agent, Joy Harris: author tour.
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