Sonia Reppe's Reviews > The Legend of Colton H. Bryant

The Legend of Colton H. Bryant by Alexandra Fuller
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Nov 03, 08

bookshelves: non-fiction, true-life-story, wyoming
Read in October, 2008

In this non-fiction novel, Fuller somberly tells the story of an unsung American hero, Colton H.Bryant, a young oil drill rig worker; one of many who support this country's oil industry, thereby providing much of the country's wealth. You might call this a true crime novel—the crime being capitalist greed and unfair treatment of workers; or you might call it a modern western for all the broad sweeping Wyoming landscapes, and the timeless struggle of its inhabitants ("who appear as tiny dots against the great swell of land") to work and prosper.

Getting into this book was really slow for me. It was kind of like watching a boring documentary...There is no plot focus at first, just short snippets of people and scenery. Also, I thought the writing was pretentious. We are told Colton's walk was "like he had never really found the difference between sky and earth." Another sentence was about a wild mare "tossing its head in serpentines of willfullness." I thought, why not: "willfully tossed its head in snake-like motions"? This is not to pick on someone's style—I'm just giving examples of why I didn't love this book. I stuck with it because my friend liked it, and the chapters are short.

I was indifferent to Colton's character for the first half of the book. This is a boy who "put ketchup on his ketchup" and almost froze himself to death—twice. Things pick up when his horse runs away and he searches for her everyday; but mainly I just thought he was a goofball.

What saved this book for me is that Colton grew as a person, into a responsible husband and father. I liked this last third of the book, and also the descriptions of the weather that takes on a life of its own; but I can't give it three stars because the first half annoyed me so much. It took me six weeks to read this because I could only take so much of it at one time. Even so, I have to admit that Fuller is a good and effective writer. Even though her writing don't get an approving "Whee-haw" out of me, it got the job done.
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