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The Last Picture Show (Thalia) Paperback – January 14, 1999
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Los Angeles Times McMurtry can transform ordinary words into highly lyrical, poetic passages. He presents human dramas with sympathy and compassion that make us care about his characters in ways that most novelists can't.
The Boston Globe There aren't many writers around who are as much fun to read as Larry McMurtry.
Top Customer Reviews
Larry McMurtry really nailed it on the head where small-town America is concerned. The ties that bind, the price you pay for being different in ANY way, and how, in Lois' words, "anything gets old if you do it often enough." (I grew up in a town that had a "show" that didn't get movies until a year or two after they'd played in the big cities. And I had a teacher or two as lazy as Coach Popper (none as chauvinistic, however). People who went to "off" to college were the exeption rather than the rule--much as it was in Thalia. We had boys and girls like Duane, Sonny, and Jacy, too--though I don't remember hearing of any were close to their livestock. . .if you know what I mean:)) At least two of the characters here had married young--because that's what you did and what else was there to do, really--and settled into lives of boredom and routine. While I can't say I thought all the actions of the young and not-so-young characters here were necessarily smart or well-thought-out, there was never a moment that I didn't understand what they were thinking.
Much has been written about Sonny, Duane, Sam the Lion, and the other menfolk here, but I also thought McMurtry did an especially good job of developing all four of the main female characters here--especially Lois, and secondly Jacy--both of whom had spirit and passion much too large for the time and place of their lives. I liked these women in spite of myself! I will now have to read Texasville to find out what happens to them and everyone else.Read more ›
All of McMurtry's really good books have been turned into better than average cinema. I think it's a toss up as to whether the movie or the book is better in this case, but there can be no question that the book is an American classic and will be read with pleasure (and tears) by generations.
Now, if we could just keep him from bad sequels - like Texasville . . .
This is not your typical coming-of-age novel. It is a beautifully crafted work of Southern lit that I think even a city-dweller could relate to; although it is predominantly about being stuck in Thalia, it's also about feeling so lost in a place you know so well. My first McMurtry novel to read is now one of my favorite books.
This book is written in a clean direct style. Some may feel that in order to be termed "great literature" a book has to have a wordy and complex style. But to me, the greatest literature is that which most clearly cuts to the essence of what makes its characters human. Those are the characters we relate to in literature. And this book is loaded with them.
In fact it's almost frightening the way McMurtry gets inside the heads of these kids. You are bound to cringe at least once remembering the times you made the exact same mistakes as these kids.
I don't think this type of amazing story-telling is unique to this novel. Terms of Endearment is an incredible novel and seems to have not been mentioned by most other reviewers. Of course Lonesome Dove is bound to have admirers as well.
In all, this is a great novel that is simple on the surface but has layers of complex undertones for those willing to explore them. As a coming of age story, this is one of my favorites.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wish I could meet him-I am from the same area. Great author. Wonderful books and movies.Published 2 days ago by Author Brenda Kay Winters
Larry McMurtry's early successful book is a faithful depiction of small town Texas in the early 1950s. McMurtry lived the experience then wrote about it. Read morePublished 12 days ago by John R. Hoag
I read this book when I was in my late teens, about the time of the movie was made in 1971. Haven't read it since. It was a great read, again. Read morePublished 1 month ago by G. Johnson
Having watched the movie twice (when it was first released, then again last year) I wanted to read the book. O course it is much better than the movie - which is great by itself. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Richard A. Root
McMurtry always creates interesting characters. Some i'd enjoy having a beer with and others I'd avoid like the plague. Kind of like real life.Published 2 months ago by Christine A. Smith
This is the third Larry McMurtry book I have read (two of the Lonesome Dove series, and this one) and I won't be reading another. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Tony L
I saw the movie about 30 years before reading the book. McMurtry is not among my favorite writers, but here I think his story is a great one.Published 3 months ago by Mac Tipton
this book was given to my husband as a gift, he said it was one of the first books he read as a kidPublished 4 months ago by carole driscoll
Came to this one after reading later books in McMurtry's work and it took me a little while to get into it. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Malissa