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VINE VOICEon May 18, 2005
One of my favorite books that I read in my teens was "The Last Picture Show" by Larry McMurtry. (It was a pretty good movie as well). It really turned me on to this then-promising young author. When the sequel, "Texasville", came out years later, I read that as well. It turned out to be one of the worst books I have read. McMurtry's style of writing changed after his heart attack and his writing really suffered since shortly after "Lonesome Dove" came out. Still, I found myself continuing to read most every book of his that came out and wanting to be there when the old McMurtry showed up again.

After my experience with "Texasville", I bought, but was reluctant to read, "Duane's Depressed; the sequel to "Texasville". As I started out with the book I thought to myself, "This is what's wrong with the post-angina McMurtry". The problem is the excessive abundance of boringly idiotic characters. They're like an influx simplistic and Americanized people out of a Fellini movie. What made me almost put the book down and quit it is the multitude of Duane's children and grandchildren who are nothing but out of control spoiled brats. If this was the only book that I encountered these type of characters, I wouldn't mind. However, they overflow in all of the modern McMurtry.

As I struggled through a cast of totally disinteresting characters, I reached a point (at about a fourth of the way into the book) where the book really started to take off. We lose the dysfunctional offspring and start focussing on Duane Moore. His is a character well-developed by an author that was showing he's still got it. I found myself drawn into Duane and his life and challenges. I found myself relating to a man who was facing many things similar to what I was dealing with in my life. For the duration of the book, I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. It was a truly endearing study of a man bewildered by his past, present and future. As Duane was struggling with his issues, I found myself wondering if McMurtry was being autobiographical. I know next to nothing about his private life. It wasn't until his 14th or 15th book that a picture of him was shown on any dust jacket and that's the same picture that has appeared on every book since. Maybe it's an analogy of how his life changed after his heart attack. Whatever it was, the character of Duane takes me back to the early talent of Larry McMurtry.

This is a very good book that just happens to start out poorly. It isn't up there with "The Last Picture Show", "Lonesome Dove", "Leaving Cheyenne", or "Horseman Pass By". However, it IS in the category of "Moving On", "All My Friends are Going to be Strangers", "Terms of Endearment" and several others. When McMurtry's good he is VERY good but when he is bad...
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on February 1, 2001
Picking up this book was like attending a family reunion. I had that same sense of visiting with people I hadn't seen in years but still cared about. You want to reminisce and catch up on what everyone's been up to. It's been years since I read Texasville and over a decade since I read The Last Picture Show. Nevertheless, I was immediately able to fall back into the rhythms of Thalia, Texas. "Duane's Depressed" picks up several years after Texasville and once again focuses on Duane Moore and his family. The book opens with Duane's decision to give up motorized vehicles, a move that shocks the entire town and throws Duane's wife into a panic. Pedestrians, you see, are unheard of in Thalia. Typical of McMurtry's novels, the dialogue is extremely funny and true to life. McMurtry has an amazing ability to point out the ridiculousness of most human behavior without demeaning his characters. And he thoroughly captures the eccentricities of small town life. Even though this is basically a story about regrets and missed oportunities, it never becomes melancholy or dismal. This is a stronger book that Texasville, but no less entertaining. I highly recommend this book for all McMurtry fans, especially if you've read the rest of the trilogy.
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on February 27, 1999
I haven't read anything by McMurtry...I tried to get past page 50 of "Lonesome Dove" a dozen times,without success. However, the jacket notes of this book intrigued me and I jumped in. I'm glad I did, too!
This is a book for anyone who has thought about the meaning of life; who has been depressed; who has lived with someone with depression; who has made it to 50; who has lost someone they love; who has not quite lived up to their teen-age reputations. In other words, this is a book that anyone over 40 can relate to...you don't have to be male to understand Duane's desperation or despondency.
I gave this book to my spouse to read...hope he finds as much enjoyment and enlightenment as I did.
A great read and well worth my precious spare time.
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on May 5, 2000
I havne't read the first two books in this trilogy, but I found this book engaging and entertaining. Neither being in my sixties or male, I still found Duane's struggles interesting to read. This book is about a man who wakes up one day and decides to walk away from his life, literally, and push forward in a new direction. I think anyone of any age can relate to that kind of story, where the character is questioning his existence and wondering what it's all about. I would say in some ways this is a philosophical book, but it's also very entertaining and easy to read. I was glued to turning the pages, wanting to find out what would happen next. A great read.
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on July 1, 2002
I loved this story of a man suddenly realizing that he is getting old, becoming aware of loss and missed opportunity, and figuring out how he wants to live his life, set against the essentially comic background of Thalia, Texas. I have read the novel three times, and the only other novel I have read this many times is Pride and Prejudice.
I'm not sure that a younger person would be able to relate to the situation, however.
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on September 21, 1999
I am a HUGE McMurtry fan - the Lonesome Dove trilogy ranks right up there as an all time favorite of mine. I am less fond of the Thalia trilogy, but I was blown away by "Duane's Depressed" - it just rang so true. I'm not male, I'm not a Texan, and I'm not in my 60's, but yet I could really relate to Duane's life.
Thank you, Larry McMurtry, for once again making me so happy that talent like yours exists in this world.
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VINE VOICEon October 22, 2014
The older you are---and the further you read--the more you appreciate this book.

Starts slow, then speeds up to a good, fast, very readable, pace. The story catches your attention and carries you on, from page to page to page.

The older you are, the closer you are to middle age and above, the more you relate to this story, why Duane's depressed, why he does what he does, why he sees his life as he does and, most importantly, what he is looking for, what he is searching for...

A good story on growing older and trying to find meaning in life, especially for guys in their late 40s to mid-60s. Anyone at any age can enjoy it, it just seems to have more meaning for men in that age group.

Nice to see what happens to some of the characters in "The Last Picture Show," the first book in this trilogy. They have, to say the least, lived interesting lives.
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I've had to put duct tape on a few papber back books; Lonesome Dove, Three Musketeers, Baja Oklahoma, Gone with the Wind, Texasville, the Good News Bible, because I reread parts of them so often the bindings wear out. Fifty pages into Duane's Depressed I stuck some duct tape on the binding of this one.
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on January 23, 2000
Larry McMurtry delivers us the human condition again and Proust-Thoreau as a bonus. Duane cyles through depression, irritation, loss of identity, love and comes to a soft landing on a cloud of understanding. He learns a few things about contentment and Proust teaches him to see the validity of his life now -- the pyramids aren't inherently better than Texas -- IF you pay attention.
Excellent book for thinking people.
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on April 6, 2000
I coud not put this book down and finished it in 4 hours. What a wonderful book! McMurtry is a great writer, turning out an intelligent captivating story with funny, true to life characters that you believe in and care about. Haven't we all wanted to just take some time and walk around, hoping to figure it all out? I love a book that's well written AND makes me laugh out loud.
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