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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Setting a place for Colton
I recently heard Alexandra speak at the Jackson Hole Writers Conference and she had me at hello. Her passion for finding and telling Colton's story was as essential as breathing, as drinking water. As she worked on the story, spending time away from her family to drive the wide open roads of Wyoming or to spend time on the oil patch, the sacrifice seemed worth it. For...
Published on July 5, 2008 by A. Lewandowski

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Real Wyoming
This book was a touching story and wonderfully written in the sense that I really felt like I knew Colton at the end of the book. I am a native of Wyoming and a 3rd generational oilfield worker so the book was very close to home for me. The descriptions of the Wyoming plains, the brutal weather and everpresent wind as well as the endearing creation of Colton's character...
Published 23 months ago by Wyoming Native


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Setting a place for Colton, July 5, 2008
I recently heard Alexandra speak at the Jackson Hole Writers Conference and she had me at hello. Her passion for finding and telling Colton's story was as essential as breathing, as drinking water. As she worked on the story, spending time away from her family to drive the wide open roads of Wyoming or to spend time on the oil patch, the sacrifice seemed worth it. For as she says, all there is and will ever be is the story teller and the story told. I was most touched by how much she lived the story. When spending hour after hour writing the story, she would occasionally tell her kids, "When you set the table tonight, set a place for Colton." Her compassion and care come across throughout the writing as she carefully weaves together the beauty and tragedy of Colton H. Bryant. She "gave away" the story during reading; and even when I knew the ending, I found the words and scenes and descriptions stacking themselves around me, creating a place of beauty and sorrow and rest. I spent 10 days in Wyoming, paddling, driving, attending a rodeo, falling in love with the vastness of land. Fuller's book gave me a story of people and place to help me come to know this place on an even deeper level.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read., May 11, 2008
By 
Fred Mrozek (German Valley, Illinois United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
There is a Talmudic expression "He who destroys a life, destroys a world entire." Alexandra Fuller captured a "world" from beginning to end. By the end of it, and after it...you are set to wondering about every anonymous teenager you see working in a fast food joint - for that was one memory I had of Wyoming - but it might as well be anywhere these days . You wonder about the things they are going through (or will go through) and whether you would be in tears if you knew. The more you think about that, the more likely the answer is yes. Which brings up the second half of the saying, which concerns saving a world by saving a life. If you read this book, you will get to know Kaylee and Bill, Jake and Colton, and you will be the better for it. And you will be forced to wonder if Jake had an anxious premonition about his buddy the night of the accident. You will wonder about the timing of the sun dog and about other things that we don't much talk about. And after a while you wonder if UPL can afford handrails on their rigs or requirements that rigs should always have at least one experienced person around at all times. You wonder about the safety officer whose main concern while Colton lay dying was obtaining a blood test to exonerate the company(!). Lots of things to wonder about. If you don't want to be set to wondering, don't buy this book.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant Writing, May 26, 2008
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One of the best books I've ever read. As a new resident of Wyoming(Jackson Hole), this book introduced me to the real Wyoming, lending a personal feel to the towns and people among the "vast emptiness". My drives through La Barge, Marbleton, Big Piney, Kemmerer and the like, will never be the same, enhanced by the understanding of the people that work and live in these towns. That being said, this is a book for those who have never set foot in Wyoming, for those who have never ventured from big city America. This book writes about the unsung heroes of our country.

The character development and dialogue will have the reader racing through pages while at the same time pausing frequently to postpone the end to some of the best reading since A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was published.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, June 4, 2008
Through her investigative reports of the effect of the oil industry on the western way of life, Alexandra Fuller stumbled across a story that grabbed a hold of her heart and pen. A generational oil patch worker didn't say enough about this simple Wyoming boy with a spirit for forgiveness and laughter who had but one wish: to be like his father. Fuller takes on the voice of Wyoming's brutal elements, endearing family and friends, and the soul of its society to present a gut-wrenching story that will haunt you after the final page has fallen flat between the covers. She delivers this story in prose alive with the harsh vastness of the wild Wyoming west and the loyalty of the souls who live it, work it and love it.

I sojourned quickly through "The Legend of Colton H. Bryant," tugged along by a steady, poetic voice that drew me into this poignant story of an American boy who lived a short life as a grown man. This sheds light on big oil and our country's glutton thirst for more--at all cost.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Real Wyoming, August 30, 2012
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This review is from: The Legend of Colton H. Bryant (Paperback)
This book was a touching story and wonderfully written in the sense that I really felt like I knew Colton at the end of the book. I am a native of Wyoming and a 3rd generational oilfield worker so the book was very close to home for me. The descriptions of the Wyoming plains, the brutal weather and everpresent wind as well as the endearing creation of Colton's character held my interest so intensely that I read this book in one sitting. Her description of Wyoming was right on in many ways and I could almost feel myself in a lot of the scenes she described.
The author does tell us that she took some creative liberties in the telling the story to help it flow and connect us to the characters - however I was extremely dissapointed with the lack of facts about the oil industry. I work full time in Wyoming in the oil industry and I am not as she describes in the book a hot shot office lackey. I work in the field every day. Things like saying that safety meetings on the rig are just a paper exercise where the boss says drill faster and that workers are kept on the payroll as temporary hands for years on end or that drilling contractors do not do maintenance and only care about drug testing accident victims are very untrue statements. She even described the color of the rig Colton worked on wrong - you would think with all of the supposed research she did she would know the drilling contractor Colton worked for paints all their rigs orange.
There is no doubt that the oil industry is a dangerous place to work - however it is one of the most highly regulated industries in our nation. It is the heartbeat of Wyoming and the people who are truly natives to this state our very proud of our richness of minerals. This was a wonderful story and could have been told just as well without the bashing of the lifeblood of Wyoming. Something our author forgot to consider here is that as human beings we make choices for our personal well being - Patterson UTI has a fall protection policy that Colton was trained on and signed off that he understood - he chose not to follow the safety regulations that day. A poor choice and a deadly one for this very endearing young father and husband.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In memoriam . . ., September 8, 2009
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This is a heartbreaker of a book that will also make you angry. Based on a true story - though the author herself says at the end that she took some liberties with the material, so it's hard to know how "creative" the book is as creative nonfiction. Nonetheless, you come to know its central character, Colton, as a young man who's the product of an LDS upbringing in small-town and rural Wyoming. Not much of a student and pegged as a "slow learner," he compensates for the meager hand he's been dealt with an enthusiasm for living, a love of his friends and family, and a talent for overcoming obstacles ("Mind over matter" is his motto - "I don't mind, so it don't matter") that leaves everyone else shaking their heads in disbelief.

We learn a lot about southwestern Wyoming, the winds, the extremes of weather, and the limited opportunities for a young man, which are mostly comprised of the ups and downs of oil extraction in desolate areas of the state. Here, at the age of 25, he is employed and working to make ends meet for a young wife, her son that he's adopted, and their own infant boy. And that's where the story ends. Although not without a final comment about the indifference to human safety in the pursuit of profits by Colton's employer, Patterson-UTI. This is a slim volume, made up of short chapters that are often little more than vignettes, each capturing a moment in a young life and ending up finally as a eulogy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read!, August 21, 2008
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A friend recommended this book to me and I'm so pleased she did! Fuller is a wonderful stylist and she paints an incredible pictire of Wyoming for the reader. The characters are larger than life, but seem believable in light of the tremendous landscape against which they're set. This is a book that I will be recommending to friends for years to come.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, affecting, finest kind, August 11, 2008
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I finished this in tears late last night. Deeply affecting, marvelously scribed -- a do-not-miss tome. I'm surprised there hasn't been much fuss about this one in the press since it's quite provocative, especially during this time of frenzied reconsideration of fossil fuel. Kudos to Fuller for the most powerful book I've read in ages.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cowboy Up, Cupcake!, June 7, 2011
The Legend of Colton H. Bryant by Alexandra Fuller (Penguin Books, 2008) takes narrative liberties with the non-fiction story of a young man from Wyoming. The facts of the case are unalterable but the way Fuller tells the story makes it one worth knowing.

"Cowboy up, cupcake!" Colton would tell his buddies in those moments when the tough got going. In 2004 there weren't many real cowboys left in Wyoming. Oil rigs. Open sky. And yet he'd tamed a wild Mustang.

Blues eyes, shy, and not the sharpest tool in the shed, Colton H. Bryant became the butt of the school bullies' jokes. He had talents; they weren't the academic type. He had a knack for having accidents. A charming cross between goofball and klutz, Colton as an adolescent is easy to identify with as he and his friends try to sort out what to do after high school in the middle of nowhere as a bunch of nobodies.

The only jobs they can secure, just like their fathers, seem to be with the oil industry. It is interesting to read about the lifestyle of those at the lowest end of this industry: temporary rig workers. The lack of safety training for employees and the lack of repair and maintenance on equipment leads to the occasional loss of life.

Colton avoids the inevitable employment and spends an entire summer working the rodeo circuit with a friend riding broncos. The bonds and friendships between these boys as they become men make them fascinating to follow. Finding love, marriage, children, and all those manly responsiblities of adulthood to be a bit much, Colton is the underdog dude you fall in love with even without looking into those blue eyes.

Even though Fuller captures the Wyoming landscape and lifestyles, the true story of the destructive forces of the oil industry - particularly hydrofracking - is larger than all of Wyoming. It's right here in my backyard. Hydrofracking in the oil industry in Texas, Pennsylvania, and now New York offers "job growth" in the "energy" industry. And the dangers are not just to the workers, but the entire community.

Since I picked up The Legend of Colton H. Bryant I have also read in my local newspapers that there was a leak in the pipeline south of here between Elmira and Binghamton and a house exploded in Horseheads from another leak. In Ithaca I have seen a dozen or more pickup trucks, brand new 4-wheeling big trucks, with the Cheasapeake Oil logo on the side-doors driving around downtown last week.

"Cowboy up, cupcake!" Colt said when his friend Jake had his heart broken by a girl. In their early 20s, these friends shared a world driven by an insatiable quest for fossil fuels; and it continues unquestioned. The men and women who risk their lives to provide us with that energy at last have a champion in this new American cowboy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Top Ten, December 31, 2009
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I've decided to review on Amazon the top ten books I've read in the past five years. This is absolutely one of the top 2 (can't choose between Knockemstiff or this one for #1).
I loved this book. I really did. Because of limited space there are few books I buy after reading them at the library but "The Legend of Colton H. Bryant" quickly found a spot on my shelf. Another reviewer mentioned that this story could be found in most rural, poverty-stricken areas. I don't believe that's so. Colton is one-of-a-kind. I know a little of what I speak as my husband was a rough neck in the oil fields of Texas and I know the culture. And it is a culture that can't be found anywhere else.
Colton was a good man. An inspiring man. He was very human. He worked hard and gave much. I took something from this book that will stay with me always. An attitude that "if I don't mind then it don't matter". This book gave me a "memory" of a man I'd never met but surely wish I had.
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The Legend of Colton H. Bryant
The Legend of Colton H. Bryant by Alexandra Fuller (Paperback - April 28, 2009)
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