Dust Jacket

Rhino Ranch

By Bob on October 7, 2010 6:00 AM

Rhino Ranch, the fourth and final installment in Larry McMurtry's west Texas saga (The Last Picture Show, Texasvile, Duane's Depressed,) is the quintessential book for Baby Boomer males.

Nobody captures west Texas better than McMurtry and now it's official - nobody gets Baby Boomer guys better either. He's just that damn good.


Rhino Ranch picks up where Duane's Depressed left us. Duane (imagine an older version of Jeff Bridges) is disenchanted with the oil bidness and splits his time between his McMansion and his line cabin shack. He's still in Thalia (McMurtry's stand-in for the real Archer City) and his only real companions are his two best buddies, Boyd Cotton and Bobby Lee Baxter.


Rhino Ranch - 316.jpgBillionaire heiress K.K. Slater moves into the adjoining ranch and sets up Rhino Ranch - a home for the endangered African black rhino. Like an older, richer version of the young Jacy Farrow (think Cybil Shepherd in The Last Picture Show) K.K. is hard to figure out. But that doesn't stop Duane from reigniting his considerable charm - which is largely lost on the billionaire babe.


The story is set in the present and we are after all in a recession. So, Boyd and Bobby Lee become wranglers at the ranch. It's a boring job that allows plenty of time to sit in a large metal tower, watch the rhinos graze and talk about life, love and geezer sex. Lot's of geezer sex.


When they aren't keeping watch on the herd and rooting out the local meth heads cooking nearby, they're at the local Dairy Queen eating chicken fried steaks and fulfilling the whims of K.K. Slater. Slater is nothing if not entertaining. Her impact on Thalia is profound - from turning the old hotel into her personal residence, to importing French chefs. It's more than enough to keep gossip-hungry locals well fed.


Duane befriends one of the rhinos (Double Ought) and McMurtry allows his bestial besty to become a metaphor for age, loss and wanderlust. The metaphors are liberally mixed with snappy dialogue, Texas humor and plenty of poignant scenes.


As he watches the women in his life drift away, Duane contemplates his own mortality and sense of purpose. This is dreary stuff in the hands of a less talented author. But, McMurtry understands the complexities of small town life and - after four novels and two movies about these characters - it's clear he knows where these people are going even if they don't. 


Rhino Ranch is the fitting finish to this west Texas tale. Like the end of a rodeo grand entry, McMurtry leaves the arena in a cloud of dust and the crowd hungry for more. 


Author: Larry McMurtry

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Penned: June 2010 (paperback)

Time Out: The 278 pages fly by so fast you'll be sad it doesn't last longer.

Beach Worthy: I read it on the way to the beach, but McMurtry's elegant prose had me seeing tumbleweeds and sandstorms instead of crashing waves.  

Available:  $10.20 from Amazon.com


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Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

ChickenBurritoBowlEverydayDiabetes 600.jpg

By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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Windy City

It's been almost 18 years since Alison Krauss gave us a solo album, but the wait is over with Windy City. The release (her fifth solo studio album) features ten covers of classic songs (and some bonus tracks) she picked with producer Buddy Cannon.

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