The Wettest County In the World by Matt Bondurant – A Book Review

This book is based upon the true story of Matt Bondurant’s grandfather and his grandfather’s brothers, a band of bootleggers who were a fearsome and almost preternaturally tough group of men during the Prohibition Era.

In The Wettest County In the World, Bondurant presents an intriguing story at its core, but I’m afraid I found his writing far too verbose to suit my tastes.  Furthermore, Bondurant at times seems as though he’s trying to fill in the historical details of his relatives’ lives to the point it proves a hindrance to the story and severely disrupts the reader’s organic connection to the main characters, thus impeding the process of “ownership.”

When Bondurant gives us action, he does it well, but those moments are far and few between.  The ending of his book is very good, but for this writer, it was a real chore getting there.    

This book had all the ingredients to be very good-it had an interesting story, a sense of danger and foreboding, a bit of a mystery, and characters that could have leapt off the page.  I’m convinced that had Bondurant simply written it another way, perhaps employing a different narrative technique focusing only on the brothers and making the story solely about them instead of including the Sherwood Anderson aspect which deals with his investigating a violent calamity concerning the Bondurant Brothers several years after the fact, I would have enjoyed it more.