Midnight Cowboy by James Leo Herlihy

‘Midnight Cowboy’ is the story of Joe Buck, handsome, naïve and about to leave his current home of Houston, Texas to go to the bright lights of New York, to become a hustler to all the wealthy women of New York. Joe’s naivety quickly becomes the target of con man Rizzo ‘Ratso’ (his real name is Enrico Salvatore Rizzo) but despite their troublesome beginning, Joe and Ratso find a friend in each other, and work towards Ratso’s dream of going to Florida, a subject that Ratso is incredibly knowledgeable about, now all they have to do is survive New York and make the money to start a new life in Florida.

What I thought of ‘Midnight Cowboy’ ~

I have never seen the film of ‘Midnight Cowboy’ and I was happy that I had not seen the film when I started reading the book, I could see the characters as I would see them as opposed to two actors on a screen. ‘Midnight Cowboy’ is the story of two very different but ultimately lonely men who become to depend on each other, both Joe and Rizzo grew up in families where they were forgotten, so they are both looking for something, Joe, for someone to love and someone to love him, Rizzo to be accepted, he has always survived on his wits and shows Joe all the tricks of the trade, and Joe shows Rizzo friendship and compassion.

The book is also about a ever changing America and what the America dream is for both characters, a sad book in so many ways but also funny at times especially the bickering between Joe and Rizzo. Joe’s naiveness and personality shines through the book and you can not help but like him and Rizzo too, they are characters you will care about.

Read it if you get the chance.

Rating ~ 7/10

Reviewed by Weave (Paula Mc)

Categories: Reviews | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Midnight Cowboy by James Leo Herlihy

  1. Kathy Raines

    I loved this book–one of the best I remember reading. Joe so much wanted to belong, to be a normal person, to learn how to be a friend. He was not a good hustler because he saw others as human beings. He was not an intelligent hero, but he was sincere, and he learned. It even has a kind of Huck Finn feel to it. I loved the character descriptions, especially of the very loquacious, lonely, clueless middle-aged man who gives him the St. Christopher’s medallion. Near the end, I was moved to tears. I saw the movie for the first time, then immediately began what I thought would be a mere sample of the book, but I couldn’t put it down.

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