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3.52  ·  Rating details ·  171 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Its 1988 and Shelley Cooper is in trouble. Hes broke, hes been fired from his construction job, and his ex-wife has left him for their next door neighbor and a new life in Kansas City. The only opportunity on his horizon is fifty pounds of his brothers high-grade marijuana, which needs to be driven from Colorado to Houston and exchanged for a lockbox full of cash. The ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published November 19th 2019 by Tin House Books
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Average rating 3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  171 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Country grit, Stark lives with what seems as little opportunity. Yet surprises await around every corner, could things notnbe as straightforward as they seem.?

I thought the writing was very emblematic of both place and time. Shelley, a man who can't seem to make good choices nor step out of his own way. The prose is straightforward, the writing natural, without artifice. Shelley is a man who wants story known.
Kasa Cotugno
Shelley Cooper is a narrator without boundaries. His has been a life of missed chances and bad choices, and yet there are a few who cut him some slack seemingly without cause. At a particularly loose end, he goes on a mission for his absolutely horrible brother (I must admit to never understanding why these errands exist except to set up a plot point, but then, maybe it's a guy-thing). And yet I admit being somewhat fascinated at his style as he spools his yarn in clear prose. No, he may not be ...more
Diane Payne
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Even though it's a fairly easy read, I know I was reading because I was hoping there'd be a shift to something a bit larger, a bit more revealing. Since the novel is set up with the narrator speaking to the readers, that puts a different onus on the readers because we can't really interject anything, and at times, I found that technique a bit tiresome, mainly because the narrator was so damn sexist toward all the women in the book. The narrator, our main character who is really hung up on ...more
Linda Bond
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Youre probably not Sheldon (Shelley) Cooper, but hes worth knowing, maybe worth understanding. Life has thrown him1 a few curves including an ex-wife, job he no longer has and a challenge hell soon come to face that is unlike anything he has faced before. With no money, he agrees to help out his brother by transporting a load of marijuana a lot of marijuana all the way to Texas from Colorado. That turns out not to be a problem but thats when life throws another curve. Now hes got to get the ...more
Jan 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
I find it troubling to read books about people who make one bad decision after another and never seem to get any wiser. I would have liked to have known that the main character felt remorse for his actions, but it was not clear to me that he did. I also found it disjointed the way the author skipped around in the time line. Seemingly these were flashbacks, but I had to work to keep track of which timeline we were actually in at that moment. Once I finished the book, I wasn't sure what message or ...more
A colleague of mine counted this as one of his favorites last year. I can appreciate a downbeat book about a man making all of the wrong decisions, hoping for a shot at redemption. But Shelley Cooper sure is one unreliable narrator and unlikeable guy, and my tolerance for toxic and/or tragic masculinity is pretty low these days. So amidst the homophobic slurs and general white guy myopia, I was pretty unimpressed overall. It's no Kent Haruf, who can write these down and out and even somewhat ...more
Bill Shupe
Jan 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
I found the book entitled: Wyoming by J.P. Gritton very hard to follow because it was so disjointed. The author kept going back and forth with the story line so it was hard to follow where the book was headed. I kept reading the book until I finished, hoping it would get better but it never did. I would not recommend this book for reading.
Jan 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Really enjoyed reading this very realistic tale. The fact that the main character is so flawed made it very believable. The fact that he's aware of his shortcomings made the story especially interesting.
Monica Elmer holm
Jan 01, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael Markowitz
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wyoming takes place mostly in Colorado, Texas and Missouri, but, hey, Fargo was excellent movie and pretty good TV series, that barely touched North Dakota. And like Fargo, this book is full of hard-bitten bad guys amid midwesterners emitting false-pleasantries, set against sprawling cold landscapes.

I particularly enjoyed the first-person dirty conversational style -- a lot of attitude with off-beat colloquialisms and the occasional "oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you this part..." It fit nicely
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh man. What a novel. Its been a long long while since Ive picked up a book thats really compelled me to keep turning the page. I finished this book on a venture to Death Valley NP, and stayed up late into the night with a flashlight under the covers. And every time I put it down to try to get some rest I found myself picking it right back up again. Gritton is serious talent
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this book because I thought it was going to be about my home state (Wyo represent!) but it really didnt have a whole lot to do with Wyoming at all. And at first, I didnt like the voice of the main character and thought he was awful. I was going to DNF it, but then I started getting into it and before I knew it..I had finished it! I still think the main character is awful, but it was a compelling story and Id definitely read more from this author. ...more
Moira Allbritton
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Gritty book that exudes real, messy life...beyond the obvious drama. Liked the author's treatment of forgiveness, family, and perseverance.
Probably a 3.5-stars read. As the first book of 2020, I'm rounding up.
Dec 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Although this debut novel is littered with crimes (ranging from vandalizing a car to drug trafficking and more), I would hesitate to call it a crime novel. It's more of a domestic tragedy, revolving around Shelly, a ticking time bomb of resentment and contrariness who is his own worst enemy. Set in 1988, with portions flashing back over the years, and ranging across Wyoming, Colorado, and Texas, the story covers Shelly's fraught relationship with those around him -- especially his ex-con big ...more
David Schwinghammer
I don't remember Wyoming ever being a setting in this book. The main character Shelley (Sheldon) Cooper is a Colorado house framer who's really hard to like. But he doesn't understand why he does what he does either, so I guess author JP Gritton is trying to say something about humanity in general.

At one point he is reduced in work time to three days a week. He sets fire to the company truck and lets his best friend take the blame.

The main plot point is when he takes a job delivering pot for his
Mar 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Sheldon decides to take a job offered by his brother making a drug hand-off down in Texas, but things don't quite go as planned.

This is a gritty, character driven story about a guy who is his own worst enemy. I've seen this plot play out on screen many times before (drug run gone wrong), but it's not one I've experienced on the page as often. I really love the writing style. It's as if Shell is telling you the story verbally in a conversational tone that reflects the grammar and wording of
Sep 07, 2019 marked it as to-read
PW Starred: " In a voice rough as a chainsaw blade and Midwestern as green bean casserole, debut author Gritton chronicles the trip-to-hell-and-back life of the troubled Shelley Cooper. After a fire ravages the mountains in the vicinity of Montgrand, Colo., and most of the construction work dries up, Shelley steals an air compressor from his boss and loses his job. He needs money, same as his weed-growing older brother, Clayton, and his sister, May, who is married to Shelleys best friend Mike. ...more
Erin McGuff-Pennington
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wyoming is the work of a skilled writer who isn't afraid to investigate the complicated, disturbing parts of the human psyche and how they impact our most important relationships. Gritton adeptly captures the vernacular of the time, place, and people about which he's writing, and creates dynamic characters that surprise the reader, making for tense scenes and page-turning dramatic situations. The prose is lovely, rich, full of complexity. Don't let the plain-speak fool you: the rhythms and ...more
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sort of feels like walking into a double-wide trailer in the heart of America. Done with respect and integrity this is a taut narrative which becomes so tensiony that it is opaque at times. The protagonist is both sympathetic and unlikable as he has continued difficulty accepting his own bad judgment and likewise finds ways of blaming others around his life. In fact some of his misfortune is not his fault but he never seems to find a way to improve the choices he makes. The dialect of middle ...more
Joe Holzer
Jan 15, 2020 added it
Shelves: modernoir
Does forgiveness exist? And if so, where does it start?

Shelley Cooper doesn't pretend to be the hero of his narrative. He knows he screws up more than most. Still, Shel projects and blames his dim circumstances on everyone and everything else.

Wyoming is told in an authentic voice rife with dialect. Though his lack of reliability affects other characters, Shel's storytelling is not in the same vein as the shady first-person narration of modern fiction. Instead, he delivers brutal honesty,
Wendy K.
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-present
And I believe Ive had my mark long as Ive known Michael Edward Corliss. Wanting him, I mean, knowing better than to do it. Wanting him anyway.

I mean Im pretty sure this book is about a man in turmoil about his sexual attraction to his best friend, right? If not, its just about an asshole who makes one horrible choice after another, with no redemption whatsoever. Definitely an interesting read.
Victoria Garaitonandia
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books where the protagonist is an unreliable narrator. His perspective is skewed and he does terrible and impulsive things and youre yelling at the pages. The writing is so good and gritty. Theres growth. I cant wait to see what else this author does in the future. ...more
Emily Tanner
Not for me! Gritty and realist. I appreciate it as an indictment of the health care system, poverty, marijuana prohibition etc. However, I couldn't get over what a jerk he was to women! It felt like a book written for men. I did like it more by the end, but it certainly wasn't my favorite read.
Cicero Queens
Feb 18, 2020 rated it did not like it
A meandering, pointless story. The writing is overly cute. The story, such as it is, gets lost in the disjointed, always-trying-to-be-clever style. Good 'ol boys who can't stay out trouble, and for whom nothing ever works out right. A disappointment given the hype and build-up.
Carla (happiestwhenreading)
Feb 28, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish
I could have probably made it through this one at another point in my life, but I just didn't have the desire to commit anymore energy to this one. I like dark and gritty books, but this one failed to grab me and hold my attention.
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sheldon is a man who has hurt everyone in his wake - he is broke, his wife left him for her high school sweetheart, he has been fired from his construction company - the only thing left is a life of crime and guilt. Compelling read.
Phil Judd
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Spruiked as a crime novel... ermmm...far from it. An Ok read. A lot of gumph about not very interesting people. Disappointing.
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Started strong, and ultimately kind of lost me. Gritty and atmospheric.
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Real rating is 3 1/2 stars
Muhemed Masika
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Is a driver
She continues her journey onward
In the end she'll disappear
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