Oh. Wow. This book is AMAZING. The plainspoken narrator, Mattie Ross, totally won me over with her voice. It has the feel of a memoir, rather than a novel, as Mattie looks back on the winter when she was 14, when she left her home determined to avenge the murder of her father. She is practical, unsentimental and unselfconcious. She is a force to be reckoned with, undaunted by the lawlessness of the old west.
The story has plenty of adventure and action as well as colourful characters. I'm not surprised that it's been translated to film. Not having seen either of the movie versions, I can't say how closely they follow the book. I look forward to watching the Coen brothers version soon. (Well, not so soon. I just checked and there are 464 people ahead of me on the waiting list for the dvd at the library.)
I listened to the Recorded Books audio edition (6.5 hours) read by Donna Tartt. Her deadpan delivery is perfect for the part. In an afterword, Tartt says that four generations of her family all fell in love with this book at about the same time. I know exactly how that feels and I'm already planning to buy copies to give as gifts. I'm sure that my mom and siblings will love it too.