Friday, December 14, 2007

The Last Cowgirl-Jana Richman

The Last Cowgirl
Jana Richman
Morrow, Jan 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 9780061257186

Now fifty-two years old and never married Dickie Sinfield looks back on her childhood when her father moved the family from the burbs to a Utah cattle ranch; at seven she went from suburban princess to mucking cowgirl. Over a decade after the transformation, eighteen year old Dickie had enough with the rough lifestyle and fled the ranch for Salt Lake City where she became a reporter.

Over the decades Dickie wants nothing much to do with her family and denies her feelings for her childhood friend Stumpy Nelson. However, her mortality comes home to roost forcing her to reexamine her feelings when her brother, Hebert dies in a poison gas accident at Dugway Proving Grounds. She returns to the ranch for his funeral and to face her family, her friends, and mostly herself.

This is an interesting family drama that looks deep at the impact emotionally on decisions in which people have reasonable choices to make; of fascination is how easily humans rationalize the selection vs. the rejections. In an aside subplot related to Herbert’s death, the Feds are nuked by Jana Richman for their disregard of safety when it comes to handling of chemical and biological weapons, but the prime plot is people justifying poor choices.

Harriet Klausner

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