Although this blog has been around for three years, I have yet to write posts about everything I originally planned to. At this time I cannot write posts about everything I originally planned to (Mostly because of the Coronavirus/Covid-19) but there are a few things I can write posts about. One of those things are book reviews.
Recently, while trying to occupy my time with something besides watching the same TV shows over and over again and binge watching YouTube videos, I decided to look through my fairly large book collection to see if there was a book that caught my eye and I could read. The first book that caught my eye was Flint by Louis L’Amour, a well known author of Western novels.
I purchased Flint from Walmart in 2016 right before a music festival was to take place. Although I already read it, the book I read was a borrowed book from a friend. Since it was for sale at Walmart, I decided to buy it so I could have my own copy and take longer to read the book and enjoy it. Although I theoretically should’ve had the time to read my copy of the book at that time, 2016 was a very physically, mentally, and emotionally tumultuous year for me and I didn’t have the energy or stamina to read anything. So, it sat with my other unread books until I rediscovered it last month.
The book is about a man named Jim Kettleman. According to the summary on the back of the book, he left New Mexico at the age of seventeen and became one of the wealthiest financiers in the East. After receiving a diagnosis of cancer, he travel back to New Mexico to die but instead gets caught up in a range war between a land speculator named Baldwin and local ranchers, specifically one by the name of Nancy Kerrigan. (Before anyone asks, this book was originally published in 1960, before ice skater Nancy Kerrigan was born.)
Although the summary is a good description of the book, it doesn’t disclose the whole entire plot. The main reason why my friends (Yes, there was more than one) told me to read the book is because the book’s description does not, as my friends said, do the book justice. There are important details and characters in the story that add to the complexity of the story, such as Jim Kettleman is married to a woman who tried to have him assassinated in order to inherit his entire estate. Although that may not be important to the story at first, it will become important as the story develops. I assume this was left out of the summary in order to prevent spoilers because the importance of the wife and her desperation to inherit his estate does not become important until the latter half of the book.
Overall, it’s a good book. It’s a Western novel and is not a Western themed romance novel in any way shape or form, but I did enjoy it way more than other Louis L’Amour books I’ve read. Jim Kettleman’s journey through the book was an interesting one and the twists and turns connected with Jim’s old life in New Mexico and new life in East as a financier is very interesting and his appreciation of his own life and what it’s truly worth is also enjoyable to watch. Flint is a book that, as far as I know, has never became a movie. This makes me sad because I believe this story is one that would make a great Western movie. Jim Kettleman’s reason to reject the life he once enjoyed in the East and journey to discover a reason to live is one that many will enjoy watching. Especially since it has a happy ending.
Although the book is focused more on action than actually dwelling much on the feelings of the characters, L’Amour did a great job explaining the feelings of the characters as well as what motivates them. The male characters are tough, but they do have feelings. (If the reader agrees with the feelings of those characters is another story, but there is enough information to draw a conclusion.) The female characters are feminine, but they are not damsels in distress. Nancy is a strong woman who runs a ranch started by and inherited from her father and uncle that is respected by the men who work for her and trust her judgement. Jim Kettleman’s wife is a strong woman as well, but her strength can be described as coming from different motives than Nancy’s. To me, both women seem well written and have as much written about their feelings and motives as the male characters do.
There is so much I can praise about this book, but the most annoying thing about this book is in the 2016 print of the book. The 2016 reprint of Flint seems to lack of concern about how the scenes change and, instead of giving breaks between paragraphs to indicate scene changes, they are omitted and all the paragraphs are pushed together into one continuous read on scene even though it probably shouldn’t be published like it. This was the biggest problem I had when I read the book in 2016. When I read it for the first time, I thought I missed something with the pacing of the book or I skipped paragraphs in haste to finish the book. After reading the 2016 print of the book over again I can honestly say this is an error with the way the book is printed and does not reflect on the reader’s ability to read the story correctly. I’m very upset the 2016 printing of the book has this issue, but I hope this does not frighten potential readers from reading this book. Just try to avoid the 2016 print of the book (I was told the 1960 printing of the book does not have this problem, but I cannot confirm this myself) or, if that is the only version you can find, try to read the book slowly to avoid confusion.