Tuesday, June 23, 2009

54. Where Rivers Change Direction by Mark Spragg

Book Around the States

Mark Spragg writes his memoirs of growing up on a dude ranch just east of Yellowstone National Park in the northwestern corner of Wyoming. You certainly get a feel for the ruggedness of this state while reading Spragg's book. His family bought the ranch when he was twelve and many of the chapters tell of the way he grew up learning to work really hard, his love for horses and nature, and his relationships with his brother, father and the cowboys who worked on the ranch. As for the guests who come to hunt, they are just background for some great stories. Some of the stories are fun, some are heartbreaking, but always beautifully told. So I really enjoyed this book until Spragg starts telling about his adult years. For a boy who seemed so well-adjusted and happy, he grew up to be pretty morose. Here he describes the ever-present wind of Wyoming which is enough to keep me from moving there. He says the state has the second highest incidence of suicide in the nation. I can understand that and maybe it explains why his adult chapters seems so depressing. The chapter where his mother is dying is so sad and hopeless. Spragg writes incredibly well, but I found the boyhood chapters so uplifting that the final few chapters were quite a let down.

Rating: 4.25

1 comment:

  1. I heard Spragg talk at the state book festival several years ago. He was excellent. I bought and read his book, An Unfinished Life. It was made into a movie and he talked about that. Loved both the book and the movie.