Excerpt from Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It

Stories

by Maile Meloy

Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy X
Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2009, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2010, 256 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Travis, B

Chet Moran grew up in Logan, Montana, at a time when kids weren’t supposed to get polio anymore. In Logan, they still did, and he had it before he was two. He recovered, but his right hip never fit in the socket, and his mother always thought he would die young.

When he was fourteen, he started riding spoiled and un-broke horses, to prove to her that he was invincible. They bucked and kicked and piled up on him, again and again. He developed a theory that horses didn’t kick or shy because they were wild; they kicked and shied because for millions of years they’d had the instinct to move fast or be lion meat.

“You mean because they’re wild,” his father had said when Chet advanced this theory.

He couldn’t explain, but he thought his father was wrong. He thought there was a difference, and that what people meant when they called a thing “wild” was not what he saw in the green horses at all.

He was small and wiry, but his hip made it hard for him to scramble out from under the horses, and he broke his right kneecap, his right foot, and his left femur before he was eighteen. His father drove him to Great Falls, where the doctors put a steel rod in his good leg from hip to knee. From then on, he walked as though he were turning to himself to ask a question.

His size came from his mother, who was three-quarters Cheyenne; his father was Irish and bullheaded. They had vague dreams of improvement for their sons, but no ideas about how to achieve them. His older brother joined the army. Watching him board an eastbound train, handsome and straight-limbed in his uniform, Chet wondered why God or fate had so favored his brother. Why had the cards been so unevenly dealt?

He left home at twenty and moved up north to the highline. He got a job outside Havre feeding cows through the winter, while the rancher’s family lived in town and the kids were in school. Whenever the roads were clear, he rode to the nearest neighbors’ for a game of pinochle, but mostly he was snowed in and alone. He had plenty of food, and good TV reception. He had some girlie magazines that he got to know better than he’d ever known an actual person. He spent his twenty-first birthday wearing long johns under two flannel shirts and his winter coat, warming up soup on the stove. He got afraid of himself that winter; he sensed something dangerous that would break free if he kept so much alone.

In the spring, he got a job in Billings, in an office with friendly secretaries and coffee breaks spent talking about rodeos and sports. They liked him there, and offered to send him to the main office in Chicago. He went home to his rented room and walked around on his stiff hip, and guessed he’d be stove up in a wheelchair in three years if he kept sitting around an office. He quit the job and bucked bales all summer, for hardly any money, and the pain went out of his hip, unless he stepped wrong.

That winter, he took another feeding job, outside Glendive, on the North Dakota border. He thought if he went east instead of north, there might not be so much snow. He lived in an insulated room built into the barn, with a TV, a couch, a hot plate, and an icebox, and he fed the cows with a team and sled. He bought some new magazines, in which the girls were strangers to him, and he watched Starsky and Hutch and the local news. At night, he could hear the horses moving in their stalls. But he’d been wrong about the snow; by October it had already started. He made it through Christmas, with packages and letters from his mother, but in January he got afraid of himself again. The fear was not particular. It began as a buzzing feeling around his spine, a restlessness without a specific aim.

The rancher had left him a truck, with a headbolt heater on an extension cord, and he warmed it up one night and drove the snowy road into town. The café was open, but he wasn’t hungry. The gas pumps stood in an island of bluish light, but the truck’s tank was full. He knew no pinochle players here, to help him pass the time. He turned off the main street to loop through town, and he drove by the school. A light was on at a side door and people were leaving their cars in the lot and going inside. He slowed, parked on the street, and watched them. He ran a hand around the steering wheel and tugged at a loose thread on its worn leather grip. Finally he got out of the truck, turned his collar up against the cold, and followed the people inside.

Excerpted from Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy Copyright © 2009 by Maile Meloy. Excerpted by permission of Riverhead Books, a division of Penguin Group, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Big Vape
    Big Vape
    by Jamie Ducharme
    In Big Vape, TIME reporter Jamie Ducharme studies the short but inflammatory history of Juul. Her ...
  • Book Jacket: Love and Fury
    Love and Fury
    by Samantha Silva
    Mary Wollstonecraft is best known for being an early advocate for women's rights and the mother of ...
  • Book Jacket: Walking on Cowrie Shells
    Walking on Cowrie Shells
    by Nana Nkweti
    The stories in Nana Nkweti's dexterous debut collection examine the raw alienation of being ...
  • Book Jacket: The Personal Librarian
    The Personal Librarian
    by Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
    The Personal Librarian drew a robust positive response from our First Impressions reviewers, ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The War Nurse
by Tracey Enerson Wood
A sweeping novel by an international bestselling author based on a true World War I story.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Lady Sunshine
    by Amy Mason Doan

    One iconic family. One summer of secrets. The dazzling spirit of 1970s California.

  • Book Jacket

    The Temple House Vanishing
    by Rachel Donohue

    A modern gothic page-turner set in a Victorian mansion in Ireland.

Win This Book!
Win Gordo

Gordo by Jaime Cortez

"Dark and hilarious ... singular and soaring ... Hands down, top debut of 2021."—Literary Hub

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

N Say N

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.