Tuesday 10 January 2023

One Man's Opinion: TEX by S E HINTON

 'I'd seen a muscle in his jaw jump, and I knew I'd hurt him. If felt good. It was the first time I realised hurting somebody could feel really good.'

Life so often with my favourite reads, it'd difficult to put my finger on why I enjoyed Tex so much.

While it's not quite up there with the absolute classics of The Outsiders, That Was Then, This Is Now and Rumble Fish, it shares many of their qualities and themes. 

The key relationship in the book is between Tex and his older brother, Mason, a basketball hopeful and an ambivalent school idol. Mason, who looks after the family finances, has had to sell Tex's horse to keep their lives afloat. Unfortunately, the horse is Tex's closest friend. It's when he's riding that he is at his most free and for Mason to get rid of Negrito is akin to him severing one of Tex's limbs (or possibly two or three). This sets the scene wonderfully and nails the love-hate relationship between the two from the off. 

What follows is Tex finding his feet. There's a wonderful naivity about him at first, a very simple way of being and appreciating the world and a sense that he's going to be among those who stay in their rural location as opposed to being one of those who is desperate to leave. 

As he finds love, gets into increasingly problematic scrapes at school, falls in and out with his best friend, attempts to rebuild his relationship with his father through a lens of blind faith and becomes innocently enmeshed with a drug dealer, his naivety is bashed and scraped to such an extent that he is forced to toughen up quickly. 

Though I was engaged from the start and loved the characters and their situations, the journey through life for Tex seems less smooth and organic when compared to the protagonists of the books that came before. In spite of this, the love of the characters and general involvement was just as potent and the ability Hinton has to punch to the gut with the use of words and spaces is just the way I'd hoped. 

Terrific work and one to check out. 

No comments:

Post a Comment