Whiskey When We're Dry

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

The audiobook is fantastic - it’s a timeless story set as a western, but the language is incredible - the characters are honest - this was the best book to end 2018.
Was this review helpful?
After her father dies, Jessilyn Harney is left to tend the family farm on her own, no easy task in late nineteenth century America. She finds the burden overwhelming and decides her only hope of keeping the farm, which is quickly falling into disarray, is to enlist the help of her runaway brother, rumored to have turned to the life of an outlaw. Jessilyn hops on her trusted horse, dresses as a boy, shortens her name to Jess and heads west to track him down. As Jess’s colloquial voice narrates the story, we hear a tale about the old west from the perspective of a girl, in the guise of a boy. Her eyes grant a fresh perspective from which to view the rugged old west. Many elements common to westerns show up, gunfights, horses, tobacco, but in a different context that critiques the typical western storylines. In one instance, Jess apes masculinity in order to maintain her disguise among ruffians. She can make no sense of the manly actions she performs, but she performs “manliness” to fit in. Gender identity, sexuality, race and class are all explored through the characters, and throughout reverberates an appreciation for the world around them, each description poetic in its careful construction. This is an excellent addition to one of my favorite new genres, alternative westerns, but the story is also expansive enough to reach beyond the confines of any genre.
Was this review helpful?
Whiskey When We're Dry is one of those rare books that you can't put down but don't want to finish. Beautifully written, this story looks at a time of Western expansion when there was very little for the "common man" and so many of them turned to crime.  It's a family drama, a western adventure and a gut wrenching look at the reality of lives when nothing but bad choices are available.
Was this review helpful?
This book took me longer than I'd like to finish, in large part because the book moves rather slowly through the middle. This isn't to say that it's poorly paced: rather, Larison takes his time, quietly ratcheting tension and upping the stakes while managing to create a deeply evocative and emotional landscape. 

Gorgeous, brutal read.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book! Jess is such a strong protagonist! Jessilyn’s mother died after giving birth to her so she was raised by her father and brother. As a teenager Jess’s  brother leaves and her father dies leaving her all alone. Jess decides to leave her home and search for her brother. In order to travel alone she must cut her hair and dress as a man. She had been taught to shoot by her brother when she was young, so she becomes a sharpshooter for the authorities that are trying to find her outlaw brother. 
  Jess is such a strong character. She defies everything thrown at her being a woman in the 1800s in the Wild West. She had a lot more brains and “balls” than many of the men she came across. This would a great book club book that would generate a lot of discussion. I want to read more from this author. Thank you to NetGalley for the chance to read and review.
Was this review helpful?
While not always an easy book to read, this glimpse into the life of a woman disguised as a man so that she can 'disappear' as she travels across the western U.S. in search of her brother was fascinating.  Hard to imagine that she could live in a bunkhouse side-by-side with gunslingers and cowboys and escape detection, but I suppose that is a perfect illustration of the fact that she could 'disappear'.  We tend to romanticize the 'wild west', but there is nothing romantic about this depiction!
Was this review helpful?
I would like to give this book 3.5 stars because it kept my interest and had a lot going for it, but it felt like a somewhat juvenile YA title. The fact that I had that thought while reading took away from losing myself in the story.

Jess is a strong, complex, and imperfect character who made this Western enjoyable and different. It wasn't always easy to suspend my disbelief with some of the political correctness and acceptance, considering the time and setting of the story.

My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
A wonderful coming-of-age western in the same vein as "True Grit".  Jess is left alone at 17.  Her dad dead and her brother gone, she leaves the ranch with the intention of finding Noah, an outlaw, and bringing him back.  She dresses like a boy and tries to act tough, keeping to herself and avoiding too many questions but along the way she has trouble knowing who to trust and open herself too.  Violent and written in a completely authentic voice, your heart will break for this tough girl who wanted only to be loved and regain the family she once knew.  Jess is the true spirit of the West.  She has seen hard times and done what she had to do to survive but shows such tenderness to her horse and people she meets along the way.  My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.
Was this review helpful?
Great writing! This book was a surprising story.  The author tells this story with enjoyable prose, told in Jessilyn's voice. I'm still thinking about the ending of the book. I'm not sure if I liked it or not, but I think it will satisfy most readers. But the best part of the book are the words. Mr. Larison writes very well. I hope he writes more books!
Was this review helpful?
Whiskey When We’re Dry is an book about a young women who grows up during the time after the Civil War. The rural areas, the problems of single parent families and disfunction. She is trying to protect her brother. Trying to survive as a women in this time period and the trials of it all.
Was this review helpful?
Strong women westerns are few and far between and well written ones even less.  Larison captures the determination of his character in wonderful writing.  If you enjoy beautiful description of the west, this novel should be on your list.
Was this review helpful?