Review of Noah Gates
William A. Gray, Ph.D.
Noah Gates is a western story, best reviewed by someone with a western bent. Mine grew as I grew: when my Grandma gave me and my cousin genuine Roy Rogers holsters and cap pistols (they still shoot); when I saw High Noon (still my second favorite movie); when I purchased a Lash LaRue bullwhip (I use it now to flick fallen branches off the roof); when Buddy Holly’s tex-mex singing became my favorite (his DVDs are always in my car); when I chose to attend the University of Texas to earn a Ph.D.; when I saw one of the first rodeos held in the original Houston Astro Dome. All of these experiences enabled me to appreciate Noah Gates in many different ways.
Each chapter is “told” by Noah, by Dora, or by the Narrator. So, I “told” Noah’s chapters out loud to my wife, using my best Texas twang to convey Reg’s story-telling writing style: matter-of-fact, no wasted words, mosie-along style in cadence with western life. As the story ambled from North Dakota through the rugged Rocky Mountains on to Colorado, I felt like the grandfather in The Princess Bride movie telling his grandson the story, because my wife kept asking for “just one more chapter” just like the grandson. Because Dora was from back east, my eastern-bred wife liked “telling” Dora’s chapters aloud to me. I read the Narrator’s chapters aloud to fill in parallel story lines for other characters and the larger plot: how Noah went searching for his stolen horses, helped Dora in a difficult situation and got himself a wife most unexpectedly in the bargain, recovered the horses the Barger gang had stolen from him and from his neighbors, and transitioned into a new life style as a horse rancher instead of wandering from place to place, alone and without real purpose or lasting friends.
Not only has Reg Quist captured the hard life surviving out west by your own wits and initiative to take risks, and by hard work that never ends, he has also conveyed the pervading sense of right and wrong, good and evil, civility towards women, respect for others and for law and order western style, being a Good Samaritan, the ethic of working and contributing to the general good.
Reg Quist has penned words that convey a western style of thinking and living. This makes Noah Gates a good read; this also makes it possible to “tell” this story in the spoken words of Noah, Dora, and the Narrator. The only thing that would make this book even better is listening to it as an audio-book, told by characters who can convey the distinctive “voices” of Noah, Dora and the Narrator better than my wife and I did. This will make you more fully appreciate the western nuance in these words – so you want more like we did.