Friday, 17 June 2011

The Legend of Colton H Bryant - Alexandra Fuller (where truth is uglier than fiction)

  Product Details  Part of the review from The Times Literary Supplement says "... must be read as fiction".  Not because it is fiction, it isn't, it's just the telling of a young man's short life, but the style of the author makes it read like fiction, and for those who do not like non-fiction this is a real bonus, because Colton Bryant's short life is full of small things, and they are described so beautifully that you just have to keep reading. Even his death was a small thing, a fall that could have been avoided with the installation of safety rails for $2000.    I know nothing at all about Wyoming; have no idea at all why anyone would choose to stay in Wyoming:  a state full of wind that kills people, empty of much else except money makers (oil now, previously coal) and those who help to make them their money.   And it seems to me that having read the book I know a little more about Wyoming, and those who like wide open spaces must love what's left of those spaces,  even after the oil men have sliced off the topsoil and moved on.  The total disregard of their workforce by moneymakers all over the world is well described here, the conditions on the rigs, and in the dormitories for the workers, the disregard also for health and safety measures,  but it is woven together like magic with the story of Colton Bryant at school (not the place he wanted to be), in his teens (fun with other teens), and his marriage and short life, thoughout which his mantra was "if you don't mind, it don't matter"
I had tears in my eyes for the last couple of chapters, even though I knew before I started that he was dead, but it is in truth, two stories; first, the carelessness of American big business and the amount of profits involved, and second but much more importantly, a love story involving Colton, his best friend Jake, and his family.  I was glad to have made the boy's acquaintance.