Cowboys are My Weakness by Pam Houston

As if you needed any, here's proof that my thoughts and views on books, and any and everything associated with books, have absolutely nothing to do with critical appraisal, acclaim, bestseller status, or anything else. My opinions are all my own, and I'm willing to share them with anyone interested in reading about them.

Except for the final story, which I consider a very moving portrayal of two friends and a woman seeking to find her true self and my reward for reading until the end, I hated the short stories in Cowboys Are My Weakness: Stories. I found the heroines in all of the stories, besides the final story, pretty much identical. They all considered themselves smart, educated women who just had a little problem with meeting their ultimate goal--the right, worthy man. The men they actually already had or met during the stories, were, of course, incapable of commitment, often cruel or at least unkind, and a waste of their time.

Maybe that just makes her female characters smart women making bad choices in terms of personal happiness, which is pretty common in real life as a lot of American women pursue the fantasy of Mr. Right, but I thought they were annoying, frustrating, and exactly what I don't want to be. I couldn't identify with them at all, which is somewhat of a relief, I suppose.

I do love the collection title, which is also the title of one of the stories, and I enjoy Houston's descriptions of the West, including hunting and rafting. I think her writing style is very vivid and descriptive. And I appreciate that she gets the difference between real cowboys and, say, President Bush-style cowboys. Or, as I told my nephew when he wanted to be a cowboy as a boy, "No, what *you* really want is to be born the rancher's son, and it's too late for that."

I feel I should note that critics very favorably compare Houston to Hemingway and rave about this collection. I'm not a Hemingway fan, either, which could explain a lot.

Overall, my rating of Cowboys Are My Weakness: Stories is a D+.


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