The Paper Cowboy

— feeling big smile
The Paper Cowboy - Kristin Levine

Tommy wants to be a cowboy. Tommy wants to be in control and do what right in every situation. He wants to be able to know the right thing to say in every circumstance as that is what a good cowboy does, at least the ones Tommy knows from the big screen. It’s hard though, for things at home are falling apart, there are pressures from his friends at school and Tommy himself is confused at what is the “right” thing to do. I can tell you though; my review will not do this book justice on how phenomenal it really is.   I fell in love with this novel from the very first chapter. The intensity and the emotions that the characters experienced carried through to me and I didn’t want this novel to end. Each scene was not just a glimpse into the lives of the characters but something much more; we were getting into their being. We knew where Tommy’s heart laid as he desired to become a cowboy, their image almost god-like but as he matured Tommy began to see where reality and the big screen differed. With his peers, he deals with many issues including communism, diversity and friendship. Tough issues for this young teen and the means at which he attempts to juggle them astonished me at times, yet I could understand his logic for he was reacting like a normal teen. His family life captured me many times in a vise and held me. Sometimes I was so memorized by the scene playing out before me, too stricken to even turn the page, just capturing the scene in my head, turning the image around and around just to make sure it really was happening. Tommy’s older sister got hurt and his mother blamed him. It seemed that Tommy carried the blame for a lot of things and this didn’t help matters much. Tommy’s mom hasn’t been well and this sends her farther down her dark path and her temper and her anger intensifies. Tommy’s father, he’s there but yet, he’s not. Tommy has to step up to take care of his younger sisters because, who else can do and because there is this guilt. Guilt can play a heavy role. I highly recommend this novel; it is definitely one of my hair-dryer books. I will definitely be singing its praises for a while!!