Clinton (Return of Midnight Marauder, 2018, etc.) tells the story of a hard-partying cowboy who gradually comes to the realization that he wants to change his ways.
A Texas ranch hand named Clint Hazard has hit rock bottom in his personal life. He recently wrecked his car and was charged with drunk driving. It was his third DUI, which means work-release jail time and the revocation of his driver’s license. His passenger when he crashed the car was his current mistress, and as a result, his wife has thrown him out of the house and his only son, Tripp, wants nothing to do with him. Clint is a cowboy—one of the 75 hands working the H&F Ranch in the small Texas Hill Country town of Bandera, “the Cowboy Capital of the World.” He’s also a feisty, cocky man who knows just how attractive he is to women. He prides himself on being able to outwork the other hands every day, no matter how drunk or high he was the night before. But this latest turn of events has shaken him, which hasn’t escaped the notice of his friend, fellow H&F hand Micah, who shared Clint’s partying ways in the past. However, he now attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and has learned how to forgive himself. When Clint reaches out to Micah for help, his recovery journey begins. Clinton makes the wise narrative decision to map the recovery story onto Clint and Micah’s time on the ranch, which often takes the form of Micah defending Clint to their bosses. These tales are enlivened at every turn by the author’s obvious affection for today’s cowboy, “a blend of renaissance man, pioneer, jack-of-all-trades, and good ole boy.” He colorfully renders the atmosphere and details of ranch life, and although the author makes sure to closely link Clint’s personal story to broader recovery-philosophy generalities, he does so with a light touch that makes for smooth reading. This has the effect of humanizing Clint and grounding his story of personal discovery.
A skillful combination of modern-day cowboy tale and substance-abuse parable.