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Cowboy Hardcover – April, 1999

3.5 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"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.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Cliff Street Books; 1st edition (April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060193263
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060193263
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,095,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Welcome! If you'd like to read an excerpt from The December Project, please visit my website, www.saradavidson.com. If you pre-order the book, you'll get a bonus--a free recording we produced of Reb Zalman singing,talking with me,and leading a meditation on letting go. You can start enjoying it right away, before the book arrives.

Now for the BIO:

Sara Davidson first captured America's imagination with her international best seller, "Loose Change," about three women growing up in the Sixties.

Sara grew up in California and went to Berkeley in the Sixties, where the rite of passage was to "get stoned, get laid and get arrested."

After Berkeley she headed for New York to attend the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Her first job was with the Boston Globe, where she became a national correspondent, covering everything from the election campaigns of Bobby Kennedy and Richard Nixon to the Woodstock Festival and the student strike at Columbia.

Returning to New York, she worked as a free-lance journalist for magazines ranging from Harpers, Esquire and the New York Times to Rolling Stone. She was one of the group who developed the craft of literary journalism, combining the techniques of fiction with rigorous reporting to bring real events and people to life. Her work is collected in the textbook, "The Literary Journalists," by Norman Sims.

Sara moved back to California where for 25 years, she alternated between writing for television and writing books. The books tend to fall in the gray zone between memoir and fiction. She uses the voice of the intimate journalist, drawing on material from her life and that of others and shaping it into a narrative that reads like fiction.

In television, she created two drama series, "Jack and Mike," and "Heart Beat," which ran on A.B.C. She was later co-executive producer of "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," wrote hundreds of hours of drama episodes, movies and miniseries, and in 1994 was nominated for a Golden Globe.

In the year 2000, her life began to unravel. She was divorced, her children were leaving for college and she couldn't find work in television. Following her intuition, knowing nobody, she drove to Boulder, Colorado for three months to be a visiting writer at the University of Colorado. She never drove back, and has pieced together a different life which she writes about in Leap!

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Written by one of the writers for the TV show, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Davidson is a highly intelligent, well-educated lady that meets and falls in love with a cowboy from rural Arizona. Zack, who has knowledge of life on a different level, has grown up in the tradition of the old west. He is a man who works with his hands creating original and authentic bridles from strips of leather, a long lost art form. He has yet to hear of the Holocaust or the New York Times. This unlikely relationship progresses with all the properties of oil mixed with water at times while the underlying current is one of intense sexual attraction and love.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters are strong and believable as odd as it might seem. You can't help but love them as they stumble along trying to make it all work. Sara is an incredible mom of two children that play a pivotal part in all of her decisions. She allows us to see her human side and shares her confusion as well as her problem solving capabilities, most of all she has heart. I for one thank her for a story well told. I can't help but wonder what part of the story is fiction. Kelsana 5/22/01
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By A Customer on October 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I picked this up at the library and can't wait to exchange it for something else. The premise sounded so appealing; I was eager to read something meaningful that explored Romance at Middle Age, Improbable Matches, Overcoming Obstacles . . . what I got instead was a sense that Sara, like locker room boys, has to affirm her desirability and sexuality by sharing the graphic details with the world. I'm no prude, but as she once told her son, "That's private." And why does it seem that she is the only one who does any self-examination, hard thinking, adaptation? I so longed for her to tell Zack what HE had to be to "run with her." He challenges her, but there's not much mention of how SHE challenges HIM. The relationship may be unorthodox, but the only "meat" to it seems to exist in the bedroom. (Pun intended.)
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Format: Hardcover
"Cowboy" was so compelling that I read it in one day while flying to Phoenix from Michigan. I couldn't put it down. It is truly the love story between two very different individuals. Zak and Sara had so little in common yet connected in such a special way. I found I was cheering for them when things were going well and feeling the pain of their struggles. The book was written from the author's perspective but provided enough of Zak's thoughts that one could see both perspectives clearly. There was fear, desire, acceptance, frustration, and a remarkable insightful thinking that evetually leads to growth. I, too, am in touch with a cowboy in another state. This book helped me to understand the struggles we are facing and to look inside for the answers. I've read "Cowboy" three times and still discover new insights as well as enjoy the humor and real life situations only this combination of unique differences could provide. Thank you, Sara!
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Format: Hardcover
To hear Sara Davidson tell it,she first wrote this book as a novel,only to have her advisers say it was flat as an old pancake .On the advice of marketing experts, it was sauced up,called a memoir, and will no doube become a movie,if not a video series. This is not a book .As Davidson said in her talk at the Los Angeles Times bookfest,it mixes fact and fiction to get sales . As for the cowboy. Davidson introduced him on the Roseanne show . The guy is a grandfather,inarticulate,and says he does not live with Davidson . So what have we got here ? What we have is Madison Avenue salesmanship,turned on at full blast to sell a product.This Davidson production is proof that just as America's newspapers and magazine have been dumbed down to sell folklore to semi-literates, the book business has been dumbed down even more in search of market share . Davidson might say, " So what, its entertainment." I say that when book publishers merge fact and fiction to sell the product, they are selling damaged goods to an innocent audience.This book should be looked as only as an example of the length to which the media industry will go to make a dollar .Questionable performance by all hands.Davidson will NOT wreite a book on ethics, that's for sure !
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Format: Hardcover
When I began this non-fiction account of a woman writer and her attraction to a cowboy, I felt anxious somehow, and nearly put it down. However, the strong storyline pulled me farther, and soon I became locked into her struggle and didn't want it to end. I realized that my discomfort at first might have been due to the complete honesty with which she dares to reveal her feelings, despite the obvious facts that the relationship will never work. Sara is tough on herself. I wanted to warn her just as her friends did, but on the other hand, I wanted to meet this cowboy myself! Of course, that's the best part--living vicariously without the pain. This book will rope you and tie you down. The characters are intriguing and the style is hard and tight.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for a light easy read - it was. I got kind of frustrated with how typical the main characters were and how predictable the story lines were. Nothing was discussed in depth; not the main characters during sex, conversation, at work, their families, nothing. I felt things were glossed over. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to write about something like this that actually happened to you, still I felt it was kind of flat and predictable. Zack came into Sara's life, they had great sex, he gets her kids to behave, she gets spooked by the relationship's responsibilities, and ultimately goes off to find him after he leaves.
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