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Cowboys Are My Weakness: Stories (Norton Paperback) Paperback – January 17, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Norton Paperback
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (January 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393326357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393326352
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A good man is hard to find, but a good cowboy practically impossible. At least that's what the women in this accomplished, witty and engrossing debut short-story collection discover when they fall 10-gallon-hat-over-spurs for the kind of men who go in for roping cattle, not for romance. In "Selway," among the most gripping of these 12 tales, an intrepid young woman rafts through treacherous white water to keep up with her boyfriend, who is as untamed as the river that nearly kills them. Accompanying Boone ("a hunter of the everything-has-to-be-hard-and-painful-to-be-good variety") through the Alaskan wilderness during sheep hunting season, the unnamed narrator of "Dall" learns about male camaraderie, violence and herself. The cowboy enthusiast in the title story, listening to country music, observes, "The men in the songs were all either brutal or inexpressive. . . . The women were victims, every one." But the women featured here aren't victims: they are smart, funny and likable. A gifted storyteller and a fine writer, Houston brings insight and an original perspective to the heavily trafficked gender divide. Literary Guild selection.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Houston, whose short stories have appeared in such periodicals as Mirabella and Mademoiselle , now has her first collection, the highlights of which are "How To Talk to a Hunter," a story selected for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories, 1990 ( LJ 10/1/90), and "Selway." Though these two stand out, the collection as a whole showcases a fresh, original, strong feminine voice. Houston is almost Hemingway-esque in her spare prose, yet richly eloquent in her descriptions of the Western sensibility. "How To Talk to a Hunter" oozes sensuality and masculinity, while at the same time getting inside the feminine mind in love with a man of few words. Likewise, "Selway" brilliantly shows what the experience of loving an adventurer is like. Houston is a part-time guide in Alaska. This is a strong woman who is wise and cynical but refreshingly optimistic. Her view of man-woman relationships is realistic: wise women get involved with "cowboys" they should know better, but they don't. Recommended.
- Rosellen Brewer, Monterey Bay Area Cooperative Lib. System, Cal.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

While it's pretty clear that these stories are at least rooted in real events or inspired by real people, it is fiction.
Amazon Customer
Houston's weakness is definitely not writing...little twists and turns abound...feel good stories that leave you wanting to read other things she has written.
Tom Ivey
She is good at writing about strong women who make bad choices out of weakness, and weak women who make strong choices out of fear.
"fleajuice"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on October 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
Pam Houston's fictional characters somehow to always seem like the great lady herself, eccentric, strong, athletic, daring, and tough. And then there are the men. They have it tough in Houston's world, and no wonder. Sometimes even she agrees that she probably treats her dogs better than she does her men.
However, while her women are gutsy, they are still vulnerable, still learning, still making mistakes, and the biggest seems to be falling for inaccessible men. As her character says in the title story of this collection, "I've always had a thing for cowboys...but they're hard to find these days, even in the West."
Full of gender-heavy wisecracking, Cowboys are My Weakness will have you laughing, groaning, and crying. Enjoy yourself.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Renee Thorpe on June 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Given to me by the same friend who sent me "Girl Interrupted," "Anywhere But Here," and "Sin," I figured this must be something worth reading.
Starting out, I began to think this was going to be a Rosamonde Pilcher type book, and "Cowboys..." does share Pilcher's usual theme: independent-woman-finds-love-in-the-arms-of-someone-cooler-and-smarter-than-Fabio. And the title of the collection implies a lot: the protagonists are all generally strong women who lose it over the Marlboro Man.
But there is an underlying pathos in the collection, an electric charge of wild man and level-headed woman. I am sure you could turn out a killer essay exploring the sexual politics in these stories, but they are also just good fun.
The tales are very well-written, and the settings are very nicely described. If the reader wants to feel what it'd be like to escape to the high desert with a trapper like Jim Bridger or to the mountains with a cute outlaw like Jesse James, reading this book is a good way to do that.
The writer's obvious familiarity with exciting, rugged skills like snow camping and game scouting is impressive, and this knowledge gives the stories extra substance.
Warning to animal lovers: contains hunting.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "fleajuice" on October 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'd enjoy meeting the people who didn't enjoy this collection of strong, entertaining stories. Houston has a good ear for language and the emotions she evokes with her rythmns. She is good at writing about strong women who make bad choices out of weakness, and weak women who make strong choices out of fear.
My 30-year old husband devoured this book, as did my 19-year old female neice (who only reads soccer magazines). It's not just a Gen-X chick thing as some may say.
This is Pam Houston at her strongest! (If you loved it, stay with it, steer clear of "Waltzing the Cat".)
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Elisabeth Keating on July 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
My friends recommended this book to me, and I was really prepared to LOVE it. But, as much fun as it is to read these stories over a weekend, by Sunday night, I found myself disappointed with the whole sort of flat/one sided depiction of relationships. Yes, I can relate to the line, "I've always had this thing for cowboys, maybe because I was born in New Jersey. But a real cowboy is hard to find these days, even in the West." And as someone who grew up in Connecticut and moved West, I agree that there's a truth to the concept of a western type of guy that you don't find on the East coast. I thought this book would be about that difference. But after about 4 stories, all these men start to sound the same-- and no different from the wrong men anywhere. Charming, evasive, manipulative, self-centered. So it turns out Houston isn't writing about cowboys--guys who are truly passionate about the outdoor life and adventure. This book, it turns out, is about the wrong guy, over and over! And I find that boring.
Also-- I don't know, maybe it's the guys Pam Houston knows.... but in my experience, many "bad boys" have a sensitive, decent side to them... which comes through in a pinch. The guys in these stories, are just totally stereotypical immature womanizers through and through, and that doesn't really ring true to me. I also found myself getting impatient with the narrator, who seems very similar in each story. Initially, she seems independent and gutsy, but soon you notice that her complete energy and thought is taken up with "the care and feeding of the man." And in many stories, she is a victim. Does she really love adventure, or is she just trying to keep up with these men and be what they want her to be?
Read more ›
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sinan Cebenoyan on June 18, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was reading with pleasure Pam Houston's "Cowboys.." and after finishing 'Jackson is Only One of My Dogs' decided to order more of her work and went into Amazon.com to check what else she had written. As always I check other readers reviews, so I looked at what they said about "Cowboys...", and now I realize how off these reviews can be. It is amazing. Houston is smart, funny and a very elegant writer. She is having a ball telling us these stories. It is well written FICTION folks. Of course she exaggerates...It is sad that you failed to get the humor, and the underlying stories she tells.
I thoroughly enjoyed her work so far, and look forward to reading more from her.
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