The year is 1889 and the point of view is from a young boy named Bob Starrett. The author does a really good job at keeping the story at a steady pace. Bob is living on a farm in Wyoming with his parents Joe and Marian Starrett. When one day he sees a mysterious stranger riding towards him. After his father, Joe offered the stranger to stay and have dinner, he then hired him as a farmhand. It didn’t take long for the suspicious folks in their small valley to make it known that this mysterious stranger wasn’t welcomed.
Soon after his arrival, the Starrett family took to him in different ways. He had made quite the impression. Bob snuck into the barn loft where the stranger was staying to find a shiny gun the likes of which he had never seen before. Bob would also notice how the stranger would look off into the distance and have a look of this content, like he was running away from something. His past seem to trouble him. He was dangerous. The Starrett family didn’t feel threatened at all by him. They felt a sense of peace and calmness with him around. The stranger couldn’t have came at a more opportune time because a powerful neighboring rancher was attempting to drive the homesteaders away. They all looked up to Joe Starrett and came to him for guidance.
It doesn’t take long for the rancher to approach the stranger and proposition him to come work for him. The stranger stays loyal to the Starretts and the feud escalates. After a group of the rancher boys trapped the stranger into a fight at a tavern in town, he is forced to show just how dangerous he is. He was outnumbered until Joe Starrett came to his aid. The stranger and Joe walked away after giving those boys a beating and sending a clear message to the rancher. Then things turned deadly after the rancher brought hired gun into town.
After the death one of the homesteaders, the rest went to Joe for guidance. Joe knew that he had to fight for his family and he didn’t want to drag the stranger into it more than he already was. The stranger was fighting his past, running from it in a sort of way. The stranger rode off into town to fight in Joe’s place, his shiny pistol on his hip. He took out the hired gunman and the rancher. The townsfolk understood now. The homesteaders were here to stay. The little boy Bob watched the whole fight and ran up to the stranger before he could ride off. It was at that moment Bob knew just what the stranger was there for. He wasn’t running from his past, not at all. He was seeking redemption. Who was this stanger? We learn his name was Shane.
1) Why I chose to read this book?
It’s my father’s favorite western movie and he would always talk about it while I was growing up. I didn’t plan on reading it until I found it on the book cart.
2) What did I get from reading the book?
It honestly surprised me to feel a connection with the character Shane. He was a man set apart, seemingly running away from his past. The way he would look fierce and dangerous at times and then suddenly calm and almost shameful the next. His past hurt him, just like my past hurt me. He was seeking redemption, just I am seeking redemption.
3) How will this book help me upon release?
While this book is a work of fiction, I understand its true meaning. My time being incarcerated has caused me to reflect on my past. Although I’m not a gunslinger riding from town to town in a the Wild West, I feel like Shane in a sense that he was riddled with shame and guilt and seeking redemption. I will use this as a beacon of hope, to right my wrongs and prove that I am not beyond redemption.