Book Report: Shane by Jack Schaefer (1949, 1983)

Of course, I’ve seen the film with Alan Ladd as the titular Shane, and I own the The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking album which samples from the same, so when I saw the book, I bought it. It is the short novel (120 pages) upon which the film was based. Like True Grit, the book is told in the first person narrator through the eyes of a child. In this case, it’s the son of the farmers with whom Shane comes to becomes friends.

The book differs from the film in that Shane’s relationship with the husband is more brotherly, and the husband knows that his wife is attracted to Shane. At one point, he gives her a very Hank Reardon sort of “I understand because he’s so much better than I am” speech. I guess they couldn’t develop that sort of relationship in a short movie. Also, I don’t remember the film taking place over the course of a year, but I might be mistaken. Also, the boy does not chase after Shane when he rides off.

Still, an enjoyable read. A lot of people must agree, since the 1983 printing I have is the 65th.

Books mentioned in this review: