Experience of Living in Las Vega in Talking Dog and the Mother Lode

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In the introduction to Talking Dog and the Mother Lode, Karl D. Wiggins pulls no punches and explicitly warns readers that what is to follow will, “make Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas look like a slice of dry white bread lying on a cheap white paper plate.” That line set me up to expect countless self-aggrandizing stories of drug-fueled exploits, poorly told by an author with more ego than writing ability. I could not have been more wrong. Within minutes of starting this audiobook, I was transported through freeze-frame memories of an innocent youth deeply impacted by the suspicious suicide of his mother in 1964.

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In this first installment of his colorful memoir, Wiggins paints a collection of vivid stories from his earliest memories to his eighteenth year. At six, Karl and his siblings were thrust into a new family when his father remarried. Two constants remained: violence and poverty. To say that the Wiggins family was dirt poor would be an understatement. There were times when his family was reduced to bouncing between states and living out of their car with five children and two adults. When they were able to find housing, heat and indoor plumbing were never a guarantee. When they ate, it was often charity handouts or whatever squirrels, fish, or deer they could catch. If this story had a modern theme song, it would be Ryan Bingham’s Hard Times.

The author is a self-proclaimed graduate from the school of hard knocks. It must be a Ph.D. in literature because his ability to spin an engrossing story is spectacular. The poetic way in which he describes everyday scenes transported me directly into his stories. While much of the book centered on an absolutely abysmal childhood, Wiggins manages to find the humor in every gritty aspect of his life. I found myself crying and laughing within moments of each other. He is a truly marvelous storyteller. While it took me a little bit to catch up and get fully acclimated into the story at hand, I have a hard time pinpointing anything I didn’t like about this audiobook. The narration by Buzz Blackburn was impeccably produced, and the story flowed smoothly due to the excellent editing support of Jo Massey-Johnston. This troika came together to create an amazing experience that left me wanting so much more of Karl’s story.

I am so glad to have been able to listen to this initial installment of Talking Dog and the Mother Lode. I can’t wait to listen to the rest of his arduous journey to creating a better life for himself. While this memoir is definitely worthy of all 4 out of 4 stars, be warned that this is not for the pearl-clutchers or those easily triggered by domestic violence. Please don’t let that warning turn you away from experiencing this amazing audiobook. Anyone who thinks they have obstacles in their life that are insurmountable or are disillusioned with the cards they have been dealt should immediately listen to this book. To invoke the words of the author, “There is always someone worse off than you or me.” Wiggins gets that point across loud and clear.

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Experience of Living in Las Vega in Talking Dog and the Mother Lode. (2021, January 12). WritingBros. Retrieved June 25, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/experience-of-living-in-las-vega-in-talking-dog-and-the-mother-lode/
“Experience of Living in Las Vega in Talking Dog and the Mother Lode.” WritingBros, 12 Jan. 2021, writingbros.com/essay-examples/experience-of-living-in-las-vega-in-talking-dog-and-the-mother-lode/
Experience of Living in Las Vega in Talking Dog and the Mother Lode. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/experience-of-living-in-las-vega-in-talking-dog-and-the-mother-lode/> [Accessed 25 Jun. 2024].
Experience of Living in Las Vega in Talking Dog and the Mother Lode [Internet]. WritingBros. 2021 Jan 12 [cited 2024 Jun 25]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/experience-of-living-in-las-vega-in-talking-dog-and-the-mother-lode/
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