"Montana 1948" by Larry Watson

I am going to admit something a little embarrassing.  I came across this book purely by accident.  I was supposed to be running errands and doing things that I really needed to get done in a short period of time, when I found myself in the used book store instead.  I have a shelf full of books I need to read, but went there anyway.  Hey, I had a coupon for a free book, okay?  I left with three books.

I picked the three books purely on where they were set, specifically choosing them for the 50 States Challenge.  I thought that maybe I’d get lucky with one of them…  but I wasn’t really concerned at the moment.  Definitely not the way I usually choose books, and I’m a little ashamed of that….  but I did what I did, and I can honestly say that this book was a gem.

Set in – you guessed it – Montana in 1948, David Hayden recounts the story of his childhood.  A story that once the events had passed, no one in his family ever spoke of them again.  David is twelve years old, and his entire world view – specifically in dealing with his family is shaken to its core.  All the while, he is learning to be brave and have the courage to speak his mind and ask the grown-up questions he needs answers to.

The story is told in such a stripped down way – as bare and as open as the Montana landscape is itself.  It is a short book, almost a novella I suppose, but the story is much larger than I expected.  For the off-hand way I came to read this book, I have to say that I totally scored.

Montana 1948
by Larry Watson
Washington Square Press, 1993
181 pages


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