Last updated on July 7th, 2017When I stumbled across Buffalo Girls on my to-read shelf, Some Can Whistle was stocked beside it—though I have no idea its provenance. Nonetheless, reading McMurtry feels like putting on your most comfortable lounging gear, familiar and safe, so I figured I’d go for two in a row. Without checking the jacket for storyline, I plunged right in and was brought up short because the narration was first person circa 1989 ex-Hollywood-I had expected a 19th century western. Offended by my own “idiotness,” I reviewed McMurtry’s entire canon to educate myself and then, after discovering his wide range of story, felt even dumber.
In Some Can Whistle, the narrator Danny Deck is a lottery Hollywood success, having struggled as an obscure writer in Hollywood for years only to write what becomes the most successful television show in history. By the time we meet him, he has taken his money and become a total recluse in Texas. His emotional commitments do not extend beyond the phone calls he has with the many movie star ex-lovers he’s collected over the years. He seems well on his way to living a life of emotional obscurity when a phone call from his twenty-one year old daughter T.R., whom he has not seen since her birth, kickstarts his life, and the story. When T.R. brings her two young children and her boyfriend to live with Danny in his Texas mansion, Danny’s life catapults into emotional overdrive.
The book moseys along, just like Danny’s life, without a lot happening and I was prepared to give this book an uncharacteristically 3 stars when I was a little more than halfway done. But then the story kicked into high gear, as did my interest, and I read the last chapter with a feeling of contentment. I hope you will too.