From Publishers Weekly
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. (May 6)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Fuller’s re-creation of the brief life of Colton H. Bryant is the story of a third-generation oil-patch worker in Wyoming. Spotlessly capturing the distinctive scenes from his life, Fuller takes readers into the Bryant family and the small-town community and oil rigs they inhabited. To know Colton, who “has a way of tearing out of the chute, firing with all hooves at once,” one must experience him, and Fuller, with pinpoint detailing and a deadeye aim on Wyoming dialect, teases out a portrait of a young man that is staggering in its spareness, and heartbreaking in its tenderness. But, “like all westerns, this story is a tragedy before it even starts because there was never a way for anyone to win against all the odds out here.” The stacked deck belongs to the oil companies, of course, and the lesson learned from Colton’s life and death is that human life is small change and protecting it isn’t in the best interest of profit. Although it’s little consolation, Fuller’s deeply moving celebration of Colton’s life is bursting with humor, love, and tragedy, like all that is best in life, and without ever having met him, you won’t soon forget Colton H. Bryant. --Ian Chipman