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Montana 1948: A Novel [Paperback]

Larry Watson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 25 2007
Montana 1948 is Larry Watson's highly successful, award-winning first novel, a classic of the American West.
“From the summer of my twelfth year I carry a series of images more vivid and lasting than any others of my boyhood and indelible beyond all attempts the years make to erase or fade them… “ So begins David Hayden's story of what happened in Montana in 1948. The events of that cataclysmic summer permanently alter twelve-year-old David's understanding of his family: his father, a small-town sheriff; his remarkably strong mother; David's uncle Frank, a war heroand respected doctor; and the Haydens' Sioux housekeeper, Marie Little Soldier, whose revelations turn the family's life upside down as she relates how Frank has been molesting his female Indian patients. As their story unravels around David, he learns that truth is not what one believes it to be, that power is abused, and that sometimes one has to choose between family loyalty and justice.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Watson's novel about a middle-class Montana family torn apart by scandal during the summer of 1948 was awarded the Milkweed National Fiction Prize.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

A young Sioux woman tossing with fever on a cot; a father begging his wife for help; a mother standing uncertainly in her kitchen with a 12-gauge shotgun: from these fragments of memory, evoked by the narrator as the novel opens, Watson builds a simple but powerful tale. It is Montana in 1948, and young David Hayden's father, Wesley, is sheriff of their small town--a position he inherited from his domineering father. Wesley is overshadowed by his older brother, Frank, a war hero who is now the town doctor. When Marie, the Sioux woman who works for the Haydens, fall ill, she adamantly resists being examined by Frank. Some probing reveals that Frank has been molesting the Indian women in his care. Wesley's dilemma--should he turn in his own brother?--is intensified when Marie is found dead and David confesses that he saw his uncle near the house before she died. The moral issues, and the consequences of following one's conscience, are made painfully evident here. Watson is to be congratulated for the honesty of his writing and the purity of his prose. Highly recommended.
- Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IN 1948 my father was serving his second term as sheriff of Mercer County, Montana. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book For U 2 Read Oct. 3 2003
Format:Paperback
At the age of 12, David Haydens world had totally changed and turned upside down. His families Indian maid had been struck with pneumonia. Davids father, Wesley(town sheriff) calls up his brother Frank(doctor) to check up on her. Frank is a real respected man, but soon everyone in the Hayden family finds out that Frank is really an Indian women molester. Since he became a doctor, he had been doing it for many years. Wesley takes action and investigates the whole incident. He soon finds out that Frank is convicted for all his wrong doings. In the mean time, the maid, Marie, dies from Frank murdering her. Wesley then locks Frank up in their basement and then one day finds him dead. The family moves away and starts a whole new life.
This book is really moving and is told in a great and personal way. Larry Watson writes as the person who is reading it is in the book as well. You feel like a character in the story, playing a part. This book was so exciting that it pursued me to read on and turn the pages. It kept me guessing to what was to happen next. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Its a well written novel and I enjoyed it as well.
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Format:Paperback
An interesting premise gets a surprisingly dark tone and poor execution in MONTANA 1948. Though it's billed as a "coming of age" story, there isn't much in the way of plot concerned with a boy metamorphosing into a man. What author Larry Watson presents is a mature man's recollections about tragic childhood events in his family's history and some eye-opening facets of his family's dark side.
MONTANA 1948's tone is part "Stand By Me", part "Pulp Fiction". There are some very adult, very disturbing themes included in this tale, including physical and sexual abuse. (I would encourage you to screen this short novel before letting your children read it.) It's an oddball combination that never really jives well and reads in a stilted, awkward fashion. For instance, a plot key plot line about shall we say, "creative imprisonment", is interrupted with a lenghthy description of the family laundry room. It felt as if Mr. Watson just need to fill the page.
All these factors left this reader wondering, "Who was the author's intended audience?" The prose is constructed in such a way as to sugguest this could be a novel for young readers, but thematically, it wouldn't seem appropriate for many in that age group. (Again, know your child's maturity level and know the book before making a decision here. Don't just take my word for it.) On the other hand, if Mr. Watson was intending for adults to read this book, it's put together in a very juvenile fashion, sloppily executed (the main character, David, is amazingly PC in his "20/20" hindsight, especially considering his family culture and upbringing), with charicatured character development and scenery. I never felt "drawn in" by this particular story's setting, and I've seen better character development off the mass-marketed Best-Seller rack.
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4.0 out of 5 stars montana 1948 April 4 2003
By alan
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed reading this novel because it told a story of a family and how one problem changed the families' lives and how the town they lived in changed forever. The family was very important in the town because the father was the chief of police and was a well-respected man in the town. The mother worked for the town courthouse filing papers and organizing them. The sun David was the youngest and the one that tells it all.
David speaks about how he lives and talks about his adventures with his friends and his families. He talks about his uncle and how his father (Wes) and his uncle don't get along because of the fact that David's grandfather (Julian) favors frank instead of Wes because uncle frank was a war hero and Wes staid home to take care of his town.
David talks of the death of Marie little soldier and how it affected him in the inside as well as the way that he remembered her. He talks about his life after that incident with uncle frank and how it affected seeing his uncle after what had happened.
Some of my favorite scenes from the book were when frank, Julian, and Wes all go to a bar out of town and start getting drunk and try to pick fight with the people in the bar. Another one of my favorite scenes was when David goes to get his dad because there are some men outside his house with a couple of guns, and while David goes and gets his dad, David's mom gets a shotgun and holds the men back from getting any closer.
Another one of my favorite scenes was when wes arrested frank and instead of putting frank in a jail sail, wes put frank in his attic so that no one would find out what really happened.
in conclusion I thought that this book had a lot of exciting moments and a lot of details that would leave you thinking.
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3.0 out of 5 stars gotta read it April 1 2003
By kashawn
Format:Paperback
I did not really enjoy Montana 1948, but I started to like it later on in the book. This book has a lot of interesting parts. This book is a positive experience for me because I never read a novel at school like this. I think every school should read this book because it has a lot of viewpoints.
The author did not hold my interest in the beginning of the book. Therefore towards the middle and the end the book caught my attention in a "can't be happening way." I couldn't understand why did Uncle Frank rape those Indian girls.
I would change all the bad things that happen in the book because the Indians lives were treated like some kind of slaves. The other thing that I would change is the way that Uncle Frank was acting. I would make him only like older woman or just chop his wee wee off.
I would recommend this book to a friend because it has a lot of good parts to it. It has many things that happen in the past in it, such as slaver and Indians getting raped. So if there is someone you know that has been sexually abused, or you have been sexually abused make sure you tell some one about it or you can get hurt or someone related to you.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth your time
This book is more complex than it first appears.
Highly readable, it tells the story of 12yo David Hayden and his family's Sioux housekeeper, Marie Little Soldier. Read more
Published on June 15 2004 by Grant Naylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This book was awesome. I couldn't put it down once I started reading. The way Larry Watson dives into these great character studies without analyzing everything, but saying just... Read more
Published on June 4 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars wow
What kind of sick, twisted, evil teacher would make a student read this. This is the worst, most boring book I was ever forced to read. Read more
Published on April 25 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Wow what a boring book
It seemed like larry watson didn't know what he was doing. He foreshadows every little event through the wind. Its filled with so many stupid meaningless symolisms and metophores. Read more
Published on March 21 2004 by Gary
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars
Watson weaves a tale about family, loyalty, and justice... and how a twelve year old boy remembers the summer of 1948. Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2004 by E. L. Weinhold
5.0 out of 5 stars Montana 1948
Montana 1948 was an excellent read. I really enjoyed this book. Larry Watson made the characters come to life in my mind. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2004 by Angie Carico
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Coming of Age Novel
Out of the many coming of age novels I've read, Montana 1948 is one of the best, and for those who hate reading a lot, it isn't very long. Read more
Published on Feb. 4 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars hihehe
HI ANG HOW R U?
THIS BOOK SUCKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
by the way, the girl with no friends, hi
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by sean
1.0 out of 5 stars BAD
This was probably the longest most uninteresting book in the world with random pointless metaphors and rediculous motifs that I felt sick throughout the entire novel. Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastico!!!!
I enjoyed reading Montana 1948 for many reasons. It was a positive experience for me because the name didn't catch my attention so if it weren't for my class, I never would have... Read more
Published on April 2 2003 by Carly Garrett
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