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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Cowboy by Bob Holt is the story of a young man named Jim Davis, a boy that was born and raised in the '60s on a Texas farm with straight-laced, conservative, and hard-working Texan values. When he finishes school, he enlists in the Army, returning home as a veteran and attending college at the ultra-liberal University of Connecticut. Jim never had trouble meeting women in Texas and while in the Army, and his life at Uconn isn't an exception. But when he begins to see a woman named Trish, everything he thought he knew and understood about life and love gets called into question. It's no different for Trish, who has built walls around her heart to protect her future from the harsh realities of her past (and even still, her present), and struggles to keep a cowboy from knocking them down.
Cowboy by Bob Holt is a well-written and wonderfully engrossing novel that takes readers on an armchair journey through the turbulent '60s. While Jim serves the Pentagon during his time in the Army, he is—as everyone was—directly linked to the war in Vietnam. This may have been the first time I've read a book where we get a pretty good look at what it was like for service members off the front line. I also really liked how Jim has a string of relationships from the onset of the story, humanizing him and cementing the direction his decisions take him as a result. Trish is given a point of view after her introduction as well and, as a central character, it helps us to understand some of the difficult, often heartbreaking rationale she employs as she gets closer and closer to Jim. All in all, this is an exceptional novel with authentic, layered characters and an interesting plot (although this is truly a character-driven book), and I'd recommend it to those who enjoy a good coming of age story, the '60s, an alternate look at life during the era of the Vietnam war, and/or an unconventional love story.