exemplification of Theodore Roosevelt’s “strenuous life” philosophy. Monte admits that the novel’s excitement comes from the fact that, whenever he couldn’t think of what to write next, he provided his main character with a swift river and sent him and his horse across.
He, his artist-wife, Susannah and his precocious son, Redstart, live contentedly on a river bank where Monte tries (and fails) to write seven novels. A chance encounter with his neighbor, Glendon Dobie, an elderly combination of both Peter Pan and the pirates sends Monte into an adventure. He with his family’s blessing, decided to accompany Glendon to Mexico in search of his wife, Blue, and ask her forgiveness for deserting her.
A chance meeting with a waiter on a train reveals Glendon’s previous existence as not only a train robber but also as one of Butch Cassidy’s Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, and Glendon must leave the train precipitously. Monte, however, finds him.
They manage to evade a group of human predators straight out of Deliverance and lose a Pinkerton detective (who keeps appearing and reappearing in this tale) while acquiring young Hood Roberts whose dream is to be in a Wild West show. Unfortunately, the young man accidentally becomes a murderer, and his plans are deflected. Monte and Glendon’s encounters become more hair raising (and more like the adventures in Monte’s lone successful novel) as they travel along, but Glendon’s benign philosophy is, “Say what you like about melodrama, it beats confusion.“
This book is a combination of Huckleberry Finn and a rip-roaring western tale with its two main characters meeting and losing all kinds of unique folks - some friendly, some not so much. Monte and Glendon even lose each other throughout the novel, but they always manage to connect again. No matter how terrifying (and interesting) life becomes for Monte he believes, “In times of dread, it’s good to have an old man along. An old man has seen worse.”
To learn more about this and other books, visit the Boulder City Library at 701 Adams Boulevard, 293-1281, www.bouldercitylibrary.org