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The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart: A Novel

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  • Posted November 8, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Here is one book worth reading

    This novel is the tale of a West Virginian named Trenchmouth Taggert. He was born in 1903 to a rambling musician of a father and a religiously Schizophrenic mother who tried to baptize him, when he was all of two months old, in a frozen, coal-sludge choked creek and this baptism caused a mouth infection that lead to his name. But a name is too simple a thing to describe anyone, especially this memorable character. Through this tale, this man meets, among others: Hank Williams, Sr., Chuck Berry and John F. Kennedy. He makes a living by being a: Pentecostal snake-handler, woman ¿pleaser,¿ Coal Strike sniper, Hermit, Woodsman, professional musician, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and a vigilante but those things are not his life.<BR/> Had Forest Gump been reared by Will Rogers, he may have resembled Trenchmouth Taggert. The wisdom that originates from seeing what is real, not necessarily what is being witnessed, the courage to act upon what is before him and the moral integrity to ¿do the right thing¿ is the best description this Student can offer of this fresh, shocking, engaging character. The story his life tells is one of a proud People who have been orphaned by their country and must therefore depend upon themselves. They are connected to the land in ways only those who realize the depth of that dependence can understand. Those who act to ruin the land, abuse its people or make demands to which they have no right, must prepare to meet Trenchmouth Taggert. His life spans 108 years and ends as it was lived, at a place and occasion of his choosing. Trenchmouth does not die, he chooses to ¿travel on.¿<BR/> The author, M. Glenn Taylor, proves himself to be a worthy recipient of his mountain tale-telling heritage. He ¿knows¿ the history of West Virginia as it is his own history, as is true for Trenchmouth. Mr. Taylor speaks of good people in a bad situation, evil people using others to further their own egos, the reality that such people can be one in the same and justice is not only blind but often fickle. It is just as true that no one gets to dictate how others choose to live their lives. They can only affect the external environment of life - not what matters.<BR/> This novel is peopled with unforgettable characters, and characters that are ethereal (they exist, have influence but are not clearly defined). This is a tale worth hearing. Like many Mountain folk, Trenchmouth lives a life unconnected from other people, yet people feel deeply connected to him. He moves down the path he has chosen, the reader connects with each stage of this trek while Trenchmouth merely passes through. He cares, but remains detached from those around him. He does so as if his life depended upon it.<BR/> This story is a description of modern life. There is disappointment, hardships and greed at every turn, it seems. One only wishes for a place of retreat, where one can find rest and not ¿have to live life looking over their shoulders, sniffing the air like dogs.¿ The success this book will have, and it will be successful, will be due to good writing and the connection the readers have with Trenchmouth. A connection forged in the age of a crashing stock market, useless wars and a Government that seems to have forgotten its people. In this work, Trenchmouth is known by many names, one that would be most fitting is ¿Everyman (or woman).¿ As he seems to speak our language.

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