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Duane Moore Vs. Harry Potter

The weather yesterday  morning allowed my usual ritual of walking down to the coffee shop and reading. The book I took with me was Duane's Depressed by Larry McMurtry.  The "Duane" of the title is Duane Moore, a character first introduced  as a teenager in McMurtry's third novel, The Last Picture Show.

I'd recently finished reading McMurtry's When The Light Goes , another of the Duane Moore novels. It was one of McMurtry's  lesser works, but it was good enough to make me want to read Duane's Depressed. (I'd already read the first two, The Last Picture Show and Texasville.)

I was pretty absorbed in the book. I meant to read about 50 pages, but ended up reading over 100. McMurtry's prose style makes me want to keep reading. I read one passage so good I had to share it with one of the other regulars:

she wanted to be mature and make good choices   the next time around-- and yet she hadn't made good choices. She had just ended up having her babies by two more cowboys who happened to be good dancers.

Here's another choice tidbit that I didn't foist onto the other customers (one was enough, no matter how good):

...visits to Lester were always depressing. Lester was a selfish, slightly crazy man who was too big to spank.

As good as the book was, I still did what I always do and took a break to chat with friends. The subject of Harry Potter came up. Beyond pointing out that I initially though HP3 was a new Hewlett-Packard product, I didn't have much to add. I haven't deliberately avoided the Harry Potter books, I just have always ended up reading other books that appealed to me more.

You could say that  Duane Moore is my Harry Potter. I'm interested in his life to the point that I forget he is a fictional character. I find myself absorbed in his world when I read the books he's in. In When The Light Goes, a character who had appeared in all the other Duane Moore novels died, and I honestly felt sad. Almost like I'd lost an old friend.

I don't know what this says about me. Harry Potter is young, has magical powers, and has amazing adventures (from what I hear.) Duane Moore is just some guy from Texas in the oil business. Maybe my imagination is limited.

But Duane's life is still pretty interesting. I thought of When The Light Goes as a fairy tale for middle aged men. In it, he has torrid affairs with a twenty something woman and his former psychiatrist. All at the age of 62.

I reckon that's close enough to magical powers for me.