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Extended Audio Sample True Grit Audiobook, by Charles Portis Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (12,139 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Charles Portis Narrator: Donna Tartt Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 1968 ISBN: 9781436170840
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Fourteen-year-old Mattie avenges her father's murder, with the help of crusty, one-eyed U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn. This tough Western yarn is eccentric, cool, and unflinching, like Mattie herself, who tells the story 50 years later in a voice strong en Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Skillfully constructed, a comic tour de force.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Gilded with literary quality that can delight book lovers as well as bookkeepers.”

    Time

  • “Portis has made an epic and a legend. Mattie Ross should soon join the pantheon of America’s legendary figures such as Kit Carson, Wyatt Earp, and Jesse James.”

    Washington Post

  • “[A] slender, hugely enjoyable masterpiece.”

    Independent (London)

  • “Much of True Grit’s humor comes from the severity, the biblical humorlessness, of its elderly narrator and her younger self, each an anachronism in her own or any time…[Portis is] no mere ‘cult writer.’ Like the finest comic writers, his understanding that most things are ridiculous lends a special gravity to the things he knows are not.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt Beams | 2/14/2014

    " This book was so compelling. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kt. | 2/13/2014

    " Very "real" narrative. My eleven year old son is reading it now. Can't wait to see the movie. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzanne Bhargava | 2/11/2014

    " A classic. I love Mattie Ross's straight, no nonsense narration and her observations on all the silly adults around her. Very entertaining. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Taitelbaum | 2/10/2014

    " Yes I saw the movie and the little girl was awesome; she really made the movie. She's obviously the driving force in the book as well. This was a quick read, I finished the whole book in one day. Portis has a great deadpan sense of humor and moves the story along at a very quick pace. If you liked the movie or just like Westerns you will definitely find this book worth your time. Highly recommended! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shonna Siegers | 2/4/2014

    " A fast read with wit and yes... Grit! No other way to say it! Loved the characters, wished they were real. My favorite read this summer! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maddecent | 2/3/2014

    " Halfway through I realized how good it was and slowed down. To further savor the dialogue. Also highly recommend the 2011 film. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andy Vann | 2/2/2014

    " I've seen both movie versions, so I thought I should give the book a try. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jay Johnson | 1/29/2014

    " I just knew I was going to love this book after seeing last year's movie. They were equally wonderful, although the book's ending was far superior to the movie's. Beautifully written with a unique, speech-without-contractions cadence, this was enjoyable from beginning to end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lili | 1/23/2014

    " I'm going to start using the word grit. And to strive to be worthy of it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rich | 1/21/2014

    " Great book, I have always loved Westerns, movies and books, the book is better then the movie, has a little more depth, and tells a bit more about the characters. Ending is way different, all in all a great book, that I will read agin. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darla | 1/19/2014

    " The film (at least, the John Wayne 1969 version) was very true to the book--Up until the last 25 pages or so. It is obvious that the screenplay was adapted straight from the book since many pivotal scenes and lines are nearly word-for-word and action-for-action. It was disappointing, though, to learn that the film so drastically changed the ending of the novel: LaBeauf doesn't die in the book; Mattie loses her arm to gangrene after the snake bite; Rooster Cogburn dies 25 years after the events of the novel take place, but Mattie never sees him again after he rides her to safety (so she never gets to thank him, and the touching graveside scene of the movie doesn't take place--And also one of my favorite John Wayne sayings was apparently written for the movie instead of taken from the book: "Well, come see a fat old man some time!"). The novel's title obviously refers to Mattie's character, although in the story she attributes the "true grit" she sought solely to Cogburn, even though she had it as well; by changing the end of the novel to a more Hollywood-ized ending for the film, I think a lot of the final "grit" that is apparent in the novel's Mattie character is missing from the film version's Mattie (even though the film version still had plenty of grit herself!). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aimee | 1/14/2014

    " I haven't seen the movies so I truly came into this with no preconceived notions. Loved the narrator's voice - she has as much grit as Rooster. In the end though I enjoyed the narrator's thoughts and editorials more than the action of the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Merrin | 1/13/2014

    " So they cut like two scenes out of the movie, basically. This book is feisty and awesome and full of sass. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brendan | 1/6/2014

    " meh. meh meh meh meh. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeffry | 12/23/2013

    " when it comes to literature, the western genre has never been my thing...that said...I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it highly to anyone. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy Brandon | 12/21/2013

    " I wonder if my four stars are influenced by years of other reviews, or the fact that the film adaptations have won Academy Awards. Definitely, the story is good, the narrative pithy, the characters engaging. But did it pull me in the way _The Help_ did? Or _The Posionwood Bible_? Or _Mudbound_? Not really. But also feel that if I don't give this book at least four stars I should be ashamed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian Santo1 | 12/20/2013

    " The Coen Bros. version of the film nails the language and the mood of the book, and even though the film also sticks closely to the plot, there's plenty of enjoyment to be derived from the novel's narration. The book fully merits its reputation for having a memorably singular narrative voice. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gloria | 12/8/2013

    " Read this for the first time after watching the movie. Very, very good book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gina | 12/7/2013

    " A must read. I loved the characters and the humor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Wood | 12/7/2013

    " what a great story. it held me like a whip from start to finish, and i wished it wouldn't. the voice alone was worth the ride. the story never let up. the two together were magic. how did he do that? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andi | 11/29/2013

    " A classic western story that I'd recommend to anyone. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caroline | 11/15/2013

    " A fun novel. I read it so I could watch the movies next. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia Fast | 11/15/2013

    " I've never been one to read westerns, but this was a surprisingly good book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bebe | 11/7/2013

    " Book on CD - wonderful story about a 14 year old girl with more spunk and intelligence than the average grown-up. We need people like that in government, smart practical and no nonsense. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Kelley | 11/5/2013

    " My son, Colin, read this for his high school English class. It was laying on the bookshelf and I was looking for something to read between book club books. I loved it! Long before Hermione Granger or Katniss Everdeen, there was Mattie Ross. As fiesty a heroine as I've ever read in literature. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lindsay | 10/28/2013

    " Even having seen the (wonderful) 2010 film thus and pretty much knowing what to expect, this was exciting, hilarious, and heartbreaking. Mattie Ross is one of the most memorable first-person narrators I've read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carrie Smith | 9/29/2013

    " Excellent book to give a teenager a taste of empowerment. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zane White | 9/26/2013

    " I loved the book as much as the original movie. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Calvin Kenley | 9/19/2013

    " -Read after seeing the remake. So enjoyable-it didn't matter that I knew what was coming and when. Portis has a major talent for writing dialogue that leaps out at you. Cogburn is the western punisher. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 9/9/2013

    " I loved Mattie Ross. And the ending is fantastic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ismael Galvan | 9/2/2013

    " This was a great book. An straight forward and honest Western novel. I read this book because I watched the movie. It's charming and funny. I haven't checked to see if Portis wrote more Westerns but if he did, I will definitely read them. 5 stars. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ellen Cleary-penninger | 8/23/2013

    " Fantastic! Favorite line by main character when asked if she'd like a swig of booze: "Why would I put a thief in my mouth to steal my brains??" Hahaha!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Philip | 5/3/2013

    " Saw the Jeff Bridges movie and enjoyed the dialogue so much I decided to read the book. Good decision; very much along the lines of Lonesome Dove, but nicely shorter. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rick Skwiot | 4/6/2013

    " A fine, fine book that reveals much about American character, rendered with fine craft and and biting and bright dialogue. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jacqueline | 3/21/2013

    " Liked this a lot more than I expected to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Schwa51 | 3/17/2013

    " What a great book! I saw the Cohen bros movie then checked out the book- definitely worth it. It was a lot of fun and a really well told story. It's always nice to read something well-written that's also fun to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sara Edgell | 10/12/2012

    " Great spunky characters, classic Western elements, and compelling back stories (and the bonds forged because of them) makes this one a page turner for sure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danny | 9/16/2012

    " Very fine novel that definitely entertains all the way through. It's a rather standard plot with Mattie Ross seeking to get revenge for the death of her father, but the dialogue and characters make it fairly interesting, and the pace of the story is luckily very well balanced. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 9/12/2012

    " Now to watch both movies and compare. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonfaith | 7/5/2012

    " A humorous romp, though not as picaresque as one may desire: so go the purple passages when penned by spinster Presbyterians. I enjoyed the novel, though felt it slight at critical points. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martin Kilkenny | 5/28/2012

    " Enjoyed it. Very close to the Coen movie. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vanessa | 5/22/2012

    " What beautiful writing, simplistic and stylistic. Rooster is one of those characters that is captured so well in writing rather than a movie. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer Phipps | 3/5/2012

    " Really liked this book. Had not seen the movie, so I wasn't sure what it was even about - it was great. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andy | 2/17/2012

    " An odd little book, but full of adventure. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gary Froseth | 1/13/2012

    " I love Charles Portis. All through the book, I can hear the voices from the John Wayne movie. It is as if Mattie Ross has written her first hand account of a romanticized adventure from 25 years before. I will continue to devour all that Portis has written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bhoswald | 1/7/2012

    " I enjoyed the book when I started reading it but about half way through it began to lose its charm. The book was short and easy to read but I really don't see why so many people love this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joshua | 12/30/2011

    " The movie was a pretty true adaptation of the book, so there weren't a lot of differences. But, regardless, it was an enjoyable read and fast one too. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rkutler | 10/23/2011

    " What I love about this novel is the mixture of the young and the old voice of Mattie. Both are strong and true. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole Handy | 6/30/2011

    " Garrett insisted I read this before we watched the movie (he LOVED both). It was a fun, fast read. As a side note, Garrett says, "When it was first written it was an instant classic...until it went out of print." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bhoswald | 6/28/2011

    " I enjoyed the book when I started reading it but about half way through it began to lose its charm. The book was short and easy to read but I really don't see why so many people love this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tuesday's Child | 6/28/2011

    " I picked up this book after seeing the movie( which was great!the music was brilliant!).Mattie is a fantastic character.Enjoyable read, with an ending that isn't happy ever after.That is why i liked it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 6/27/2011

    " I wish there was a 4 1/2 star rating. I wouldn't quite put it up there with my 5-star classics, but I loved it! It's short, easy to read, and fast-paced. Best of all, it is funny! The subtle humor kept me smiling almost every page. Recommend it to anyone!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carla | 6/26/2011

    " This was a great story.. an interesting read with well drawn characters. It would be fine reading for high school students giving them an opportunity for good discussions. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christine | 6/23/2011

    " I loved this book. The narrator is one you'll never forget. I love the way she talks and thinks. The recent movie version is as true to the story as a screenplay can get, but you still miss some of the great narration that goes on in Maddie's mind as well. Loved it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doug | 6/23/2011

    " Really great read: great language, character, action, setting. The plot is pretty straightforward -- and the recent Coen Bros' movie is mostly faithful. I'm planning on reading additional Portis titles. (Overlook Press sent me his entire backlist -- a contest I won.) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 6/22/2011

    " I actually liked the movie better than the book! That never happens to me! I hated that she lost her arm! Still an interesting book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jana | 6/22/2011

    " The distinctive voice and often hilarious dialogue in this book make it worth the read, even if you've seen the movies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzy | 6/22/2011

    " A very fun book to read. The Cohen brothers adhered nicely to the original novel in their recent adaptation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 6/20/2011

    " Such a fun read. Love the strong characters and the story. The ending is great. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jen | 6/20/2011

    " I have never been a fan of Westerns but this is a thoroughly entertaining story with a great narrator. I loved the slang and language that was used that seemed to make it much more authentic.
    I haven't seen the films but would love to check it out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim | 6/20/2011

    " I actually liked the book but I liked the movie a whole lot better. Which is rather odd!!! My one complaint with the book was the way it was written. It was weird for me. I like books that are third person but this one was too much. "

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About the Author
Author Charles Portis

Charles Portis lives in Arkansas, where he was born and educated. He served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. As a reporter, he wrote for the New York Herald-Tribune and was also its London bureau chief. His first novel, Norwood, was published in 1966. His other novels are True Grit, Masters of Atlantis, The Dog of the South, and Gringos.

About the Narrator
Donna Tartt is a novelist, essayist, and critic. The Secret History has been translated into twenty-four languages and is available in hardcover from Knopf.