Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart-M. Glenn Taylor

The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart
M. Glenn Taylor
Ecco, Jun 17 2009, $16.50
ISBN: 9781933202310

He is probably the oldest person in Appalachia rumored to be born back in 03 that is 1903; in the West Virginia section of the mountain range he is considered older than dirt. Over a century ago, his thirst for life and his moniker of Trenchmouth Taggart came from the same harrowing incident. His not so sane mom tossed him into an icy river. Taggart survived but suffered a nasty infection in his mouth. On his 108th birthday, he had his lips sewn tight with fishing line wire except for a straw opening for coffee, tea and moonshine, as his latest means of survival; this time from an outside reporter. He learned to survive and to insure he depended on only himself thanks mostly to his grit and that strong Mountain Widow Dorsett who saved his life after his mom tossed him to his watery grave; as she taught him to rely on himself.

Although now a senior’s senior citizen, he still gets aroused in fights against those blowing off mountain tops, but Taggart has gone aground ever since he set up target practice as a union sniper targeting the coal mining firms; suits and scabs were his favorites. He surfaces when he needs liquor or music. Although he cannot speak, he tells THE BALLAD OF TRENCHMOUTH TAGGART to a Time reporter.

This is a fascinating ballad that provides the audience a deep look into West Virginia’s Appalachia across the twentieth century where poverty has always led to the loss of childhood innocence at an extremely young age. Trenchmouth is an interesting character with his tale enhanced by those in his lives starting briefly with his fire and brimstone mom drowning him; to the Widow teaching him to be independent and strong; to the union leaders hiring him to shoot the enemy, etc. Fans will enjoy his life on the outside as his recreation is moonshine and music.

Harriet Klausner

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