Cowboys Don’t Cry
Scout McBride is a young boy growing up outside of El Paso, Texas, during the Depression. Raised on a farm until circumstances force the family to move to a more urban area, Scout is sensitive to the needs of the animals on the farm and is able to communicate with them. His longest meaningful relationship, in fact, is with his horse, Ol’ Paint. Scout feels things deeply and intuitively knows things that others cannot fathom. Scout has the gift of being able to communicate with the animals. He also is able to see and hear the dead, both human and nonhuman. The novel provides a first-person account of various significant events in Scout’s life, from his early days in school, beaten for speaking Spanish, to his last days of high school, when he must say goodbye to someone he loves.
This novel, which purports to be semi-autobiographical, is the coming of age story of a young boy who wants to be a cowboy. “Cowboys don’t cry” is more than a title to this book; it is also a running theme throughout the narrative. The protagonist is three-dimensional and very sympathetic. The author managed to create a plot which, despite my lack of interest in the “southwestern” genre, kept me interested from the first page to the last. The setting is somewhat vague and nondescript; a bit disappointing. Nonetheless, the author produces a compelling and engaging storyline. I had trouble putting it down; very much recommended.