Synopses & Reviews
From the bestselling author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight and Scribbling the Cat, the unforgettable true story of a boy who comes of age in the oil-fields and open plains of Wyoming; a heartrending story of the human spirit that lays bare where it is that wisdom truly resides
Colton H. Bryant was one of Wyoming's native sons and grown by that high, dry place, he never once wanted to leave it. "Wyoming loves me," he said, and it was true. Wyoming roughneck, wild, open, and searingly beautiful loved him, and Colton loved it back. As a child in school, Colton never could force himself to focus on his lessons. Instead, he'd plan where he'd go fishing later, or he'd wonder how many jackrabbits he might find on his favorite hunting patch, or he'd dream about the rides he would take on the wild mare he was breaking. "At my funeral, you'll all feel sorry for making me waste so much time in school," he said to his best friend Jake and it was true.
Two things got Colton through the boredom of school and the neighborhood "K-mart cowboys" who bullied him: His best friend Jake and his favorite mantra, a snatch of a saying he heard on TV: Mind over matter which meant to him: If you don't mind, it don't matter. Colton and Jake grew up wanting nothing more than the freedom to sleep out under the great Wyoming night sky, to hunt and fish and chase the horizon and to be just like Colton's dad, a strong and gentle man of few words. When it was time for Colton to marry and make money on his own, he took up as a hand on an oil rig. It was dangerous work, but Colton was the third generation in his family to work on the oil patch and he claimed it was in his blood. And anyway, he joked, he always knew he'd die young.
Colton did die young, and he died on the rig falling to his death because the drilling company had neglected to spend two thousand dollars on the mandated safety rails that would have saved his life. His family received no compensation. But they didn't expect to. They knew the company's ways, and after all as Colton would have said: Mind over matter.
In Scribbling the Cat, Alexandra Fuller brought us the examined life of a Rhodesian soldier; now in her inimitable poetic voice and with her pitch-perfect ear for dialogue she brings before us the life of someone much closer to home, as unexpected as he is iconic. The moving, tough, and in many ways quintessentially American story of Colton H. Bryant's life could not be told without also telling the story of the land that grew himthe beautiful and somehow tragic Wyoming; the land where there are still such things as cowboys roaming the plains, where it's relationships that get you through, and where a just, soulful, passionate man named Colton H. Bryant lived and died.
"Fuller, author of the bestselling Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, narrates the tragically short life of Colton H. Bryant, a Wyoming roughneck in his mid-20s who in 2006 fell to his death on an oil rig owned by Patterson UTI Energy. A Wyoming resident herself since 1994, Fuller is expert in evoking the stark landscape and recreating the speech and mentality of her adopted state's native sons. Along the way, she sheds light on the tough, unpredictable lives of Wyoming's oilmen and the toll exacted on their families. Though the book is wonderfully poignant and poetic and reads more like a novel than biography, Fuller acknowledges that she has taken narrative liberties, composed dialogue, disregarded certain aspects of Colton's life and occasionally juggled chronology 'to create a smoother story line,' leading readers to wonder what is true and what invented for dramatic purposes. As such, it is difficult to assess Fuller's simplistic conclusion that the company's drive to cut costs killed the young man, though she is right to highlight the strikingly high number of fatalities in the industry. As a touching portrait of a life cut short and a perceptive immersion in the environment that nurtures such men, Fuller's volume excels, but in terms of absolute veracity it should be read with caution." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
" [Fuller's] book-set in her new home, the high plains of Wyoming-hangs so faultlessly on its high-altitude, big-sky, oildrilling bones that it seems not so much to have been written as uncovered by the wind and weather of the American north-west."
From the bestselling author of "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" comes the unforgettable true story of a boy who comes of age in the oil fields and open plains of Wyoming.
A heartrending story of the human spirit from the author of the bestselling Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
Alexandra Fuller returns with the unforgettable true story of Colton H. Bryant, a soulful boy with a mustang-taming heart who comes of age in the oil fields and open plains of Wyoming. After surviving a sometimes cruel adolescence with his own brand of optimistic goofiness, Colton goes to work on an oil rig-and there the biggest heart in the world can't save him from the new, unkind greed that has possessed his beloved Wyoming during the latest boom.
Colton's story could not be told without telling of the land that grew him, where the great high plains meet the Rocky Mountains to create a vista of lonely beauty. It is here that the existence of one boy is a true story as deeply moving as the life that inspired it.
About the Author
Alexandra Fuller was born in England in 1969 and in 1972 she moved with her family to a farm in Rhodesia. After that country’s civil war in 1981, the Fullers moved first to Malawi, then to Zambia. Fuller received a B.A. from Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada. She is the author of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood, a national bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of 2002, and a finalist for the Guardian First Book Award, and Scribbling the Cat, winner of the 2005 Ulysses Award for Art of Reportage. Fuller lives in Wyoming with her husband and children.