Book Review: Anything for Billy

This example of historical fiction by Larry McMurtry was in my humble estimate a difficult western story, for me to read. McMurtry the author of many excellent western stories approached this historical figure being seen through the eyes of a ten-cent bulk book author. I definitely appreciated the short chapters, but the story did not pull me through the book making it hard for me to read. It could be that I know too much about the character and the west. I probably had already formed my own view of this historical character.

One of the main supporting characters, Ben Sippy, was a writer of dime novels of the time. The second companion on the trail was Joe Lovelady a known outlaw and was everything Billy the Kid wanted to be. Sippy had ran away from his wife and daughters to give his life a shot of adrenalin and escape from the humdrum necessities of his calm peaceful life of an eastern gentleman. This saga is presented as a journal written by Ben Sippy as he records the steady yet methodical trip from one insignificant small western town to another.

The multitude of characters make the novel by McMurtry was an insertion into the unknown mind of this famous western bad boy. Billy Bones alias Billy the Kid was in this novel shown as a not to smart teenager, who was trying every avenue to strengthen his own image and vision of himself as an outlaw. This would cover his companions and shower his revised image onto the men that actually were there surrounding him.

I recommend this book to western readers as a good example of western journals and a way to convey to the readers how things could have happened to a historical character as he tried to mature in the violent west.


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