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A spectacularly inventive debut novel that reinvents the tall tale for our times—“Cuyahoga defies all modest description…[it] is ten feet tall if it’s an inch, and it’s a ramshackle joy from start to finish” (Brian Phillips, author of Impossible Owls). Big Son is a spirit of the times—the times being 1837. Behind his broad shoulders, shiny hair, and church-organ laugh, Big A spectacularly inventive debut novel that reinvents the tall tale for our times—“Cuyahoga defies all modest description…[it] is ten feet tall if it’s an inch, and it’s a ramshackle joy from start to finish” (Brian Phillips, author of Impossible Owls). Big Son is a spirit of the times—the times being 1837. Behind his broad shoulders, shiny hair, and church-organ laugh, Big Son practically made Ohio City all by himself. The feats of this proto-superhero have earned him wonder and whiskey toasts but very little in the way of fortune. And without money, Big cannot become an honest husband to his beloved Cloe (who may or may not want to be his wife, honestly). In pursuit of a steady wage, our hero hits the (dirt) streets of Ohio City and Cleveland, the twin towns racing to become the first great metropolis of the West. Their rivalry reaches a boil over the building of a bridge across the Cuyahoga River—and Big stumbles right into the kettle. The resulting misadventures involve elderly terrorists, infrastructure collapse, steamboat races, wild pigs, and multiple ruined weddings. Narrating this “deliriously fun” (Brian Phillips) tale is Medium Son—known as Meed—apprentice coffin maker, almanac author, orphan, and the younger brother of Big. Meed finds himself swept up in the action, and he is forced to choose between brotherly love and his own ambitions. His uncanny voice—plain but profound, colloquial but surprisingly poetic—elevates a slapstick frontier tale into a screwball origin myth for the Rust Belt. In Cuyahoga, tragedy and farce jumble together in a riotously original voice. Evoking the Greek classics and the Bible alongside nods to Looney Tunes, Charles Portis, and Flannery O’Connor, Pete Beatty has written a rollicking revisionist (mid)Western with universal themes of family and fate—an old, weird America that feels brand new.


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A spectacularly inventive debut novel that reinvents the tall tale for our times—“Cuyahoga defies all modest description…[it] is ten feet tall if it’s an inch, and it’s a ramshackle joy from start to finish” (Brian Phillips, author of Impossible Owls). Big Son is a spirit of the times—the times being 1837. Behind his broad shoulders, shiny hair, and church-organ laugh, Big A spectacularly inventive debut novel that reinvents the tall tale for our times—“Cuyahoga defies all modest description…[it] is ten feet tall if it’s an inch, and it’s a ramshackle joy from start to finish” (Brian Phillips, author of Impossible Owls). Big Son is a spirit of the times—the times being 1837. Behind his broad shoulders, shiny hair, and church-organ laugh, Big Son practically made Ohio City all by himself. The feats of this proto-superhero have earned him wonder and whiskey toasts but very little in the way of fortune. And without money, Big cannot become an honest husband to his beloved Cloe (who may or may not want to be his wife, honestly). In pursuit of a steady wage, our hero hits the (dirt) streets of Ohio City and Cleveland, the twin towns racing to become the first great metropolis of the West. Their rivalry reaches a boil over the building of a bridge across the Cuyahoga River—and Big stumbles right into the kettle. The resulting misadventures involve elderly terrorists, infrastructure collapse, steamboat races, wild pigs, and multiple ruined weddings. Narrating this “deliriously fun” (Brian Phillips) tale is Medium Son—known as Meed—apprentice coffin maker, almanac author, orphan, and the younger brother of Big. Meed finds himself swept up in the action, and he is forced to choose between brotherly love and his own ambitions. His uncanny voice—plain but profound, colloquial but surprisingly poetic—elevates a slapstick frontier tale into a screwball origin myth for the Rust Belt. In Cuyahoga, tragedy and farce jumble together in a riotously original voice. Evoking the Greek classics and the Bible alongside nods to Looney Tunes, Charles Portis, and Flannery O’Connor, Pete Beatty has written a rollicking revisionist (mid)Western with universal themes of family and fate—an old, weird America that feels brand new.

30 review for Cuyahoga: A Novel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Fran

    Cleveland was on the eastern bluff at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. "As Cleveland grew, handfuls of folks spilled the river looking for an emptiness more to their liking...In order to make good emptiness, you have got to clear land...but...we only nibbled out our few acres...the trouble come when the nibbling spread out into eating-up," the words of Middle Son (Meed). In describing his brother, Big Son (Big), "My brother was democratic in his feats...hung church bells one-handed...hunted one Cleveland was on the eastern bluff at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. "As Cleveland grew, handfuls of folks spilled the river looking for an emptiness more to their liking...In order to make good emptiness, you have got to clear land...but...we only nibbled out our few acres...the trouble come when the nibbling spread out into eating-up," the words of Middle Son (Meed). In describing his brother, Big Son (Big), "My brother was democratic in his feats...hung church bells one-handed...hunted one hundred rabbits in a day...this taste come from his first feat...when he whipped ten thousand trees. This is a story of the west." This is a tall tale, the tale of how Big cleared ground for Ohio, in 1837, for a town on the western bluff of the Cuyahoga River. Dueling towns would soon be jockeying for dominance. "At first, Big did not mind his empty palms...it were enough for him to be wondered at and adored...but...the only income Big had ever known was wonder won by feats". He needed a real job, one that would provide him with "a wage and a prospect and a Cloe". (The girl he was aiming to marry). Would Big get the girl? Meed, as narrator, provides commentary of his brother's adventures and misadventures. A tale of two testy cities, warring about a bridge being built over the Cuyahoga River, funded solely by the deep pockets of wealthy Cleveland resident Mr. Clark. "Built in the interest of the future of the two cities...in perpetuity free without toll". The bridge built at the Columbus Road "... came out of the fat farm country... [and]... would roll down the hill straight into Cleveland and never into Ohio City starving the little sister of commerce and custom". Residents would face challenges, perhaps the bridge was a nuisance to greater good! "Cuyahoga" by Pete Beatty is populated with humorous characters who converse in colorful language. Our narrator, Big's brother Meed, works as a coffin maker. "A good coffin will do as a bench-a chest of linens-a wardrobe if you turn it on end". Dogstadter Gricer (Dog) was "...a considerable success as a whiskey grocer, but his true gift lies in spinning wild stories from between his frightful teeth..." Ozia Basket (Oze), a teamster, had a barn full of mules, all with "respectable Bible names". These are just a few residents of Ohio City the reader will encounter. "...everyone has a story to tell here in wildly entertaining fashion". Debut author Beatty has written a novel that is a comical, quirky, imaginative romp. Very original and highly recommended. Thank you Scribner and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. ,

  2. 5 out of 5

    Pete

    biased because um i know the author. re-reading/hearing/thinking about the book makes me cringe a little because i would simultaneously like to 1) rewrite some parts 2) add stuff 3) take stuff out 4) never think about it again 5) continually get head pats for doing a good job. but regardless of all the multivalent fencing reactions my ego self has re this thing, i am proud of what i got down and stoked that the universe and good luck and CBS/viacom and the good humans at scribner put it out ther biased because um i know the author. re-reading/hearing/thinking about the book makes me cringe a little because i would simultaneously like to 1) rewrite some parts 2) add stuff 3) take stuff out 4) never think about it again 5) continually get head pats for doing a good job. but regardless of all the multivalent fencing reactions my ego self has re this thing, i am proud of what i got down and stoked that the universe and good luck and CBS/viacom and the good humans at scribner put it out there for people to read or ignore. i have a pretty anxious and mostly uncomfortable relationship to self expression, and the only way i could get this much done was to, in the words of levon helm on "jemima surrender," was to lock the door, tear my shirt, and let my river flow. that energy doesn't 100% vibe with being a functional human being or even passing as one! anyway in summary, i put this messy lie/truth goblin text out into the mean world and i hope you dig it, but you don't have to, i love you either way. Ain't no pretender, gonna ride in my canoe

  3. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    “Let us have commerce and racing horses. Progress and the mastery of nature. Swap swords for axes and plows. Let us have tenderness but also a dash of cussedness and tragedy. All in the manner native to Ohio.” Set in the 1830s, this deals with the two small towns that became Cleveland, Ohio. It is told in the form of saccharine tall tales featuring Big Son, the invincible older brother of the narrator of the book, Middle Son. The author is really committed to his writing style and the reader will “Let us have commerce and racing horses. Progress and the mastery of nature. Swap swords for axes and plows. Let us have tenderness but also a dash of cussedness and tragedy. All in the manner native to Ohio.” Set in the 1830s, this deals with the two small towns that became Cleveland, Ohio. It is told in the form of saccharine tall tales featuring Big Son, the invincible older brother of the narrator of the book, Middle Son. The author is really committed to his writing style and the reader will either like or, like me, hate it. I found it annoyingly cute: “Now, this were no crime, except he had been at his washing when the horse ran off and was wearing only shirtsleeves, and his hind and front bits were visible all around just as the wedding party come out. Men frowned at Big for a month after that, and some women still did not return his hides.” “Tom were wearing his heaviest manners. You could near to smell his scheming.” I know nothing of the history of Cleveland so I have no idea how much of it might have been based on actual events. I do know that their description was somewhat jumbled and confusing in this book. More interesting to me was the sibling rivalry. Ultimately, I was too put off by the writing style to really enjoy this book and it was so bland that I literally kept dozing off while reading it. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Jenner

    Pete Beatty's debut novel CUYAHOGA is as comically genius as a Coen Brothers film; his narrative skill and voice as singular as Faulkner's; his imagination as dizzying and expansive as the tall-tale feats of hero Big Son it recalls. Page by page, I felt like the top of my head had blown off: even the most seemingly thrown-away lines left me astonished at their efficiency and beauty. A most startlingly original novel, CUYAHOGA is as close a reading experience to first discovering Salinger and Nab Pete Beatty's debut novel CUYAHOGA is as comically genius as a Coen Brothers film; his narrative skill and voice as singular as Faulkner's; his imagination as dizzying and expansive as the tall-tale feats of hero Big Son it recalls. Page by page, I felt like the top of my head had blown off: even the most seemingly thrown-away lines left me astonished at their efficiency and beauty. A most startlingly original novel, CUYAHOGA is as close a reading experience to first discovering Salinger and Nabokov as I have ever found. I am so grateful to the author and to his publisher Scribner for an early advance copy of this remarkable debut.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tamar...light at the end of the tunnel?

    I don’t like to write disappointing reviews and I always try to find something nice to say, if possible, since every author spills his/her guts out to tell a story and a publisher found merit in the work or would not have invested in the book. So, this is more than a little embarrassing, because this is my first review for a book requested from Edelweiss, and I (literally) asked for it (double entendre, intended). Let’s start with the good stuff. The cover art of the book is lovely. Next, the ti I don’t like to write disappointing reviews and I always try to find something nice to say, if possible, since every author spills his/her guts out to tell a story and a publisher found merit in the work or would not have invested in the book. So, this is more than a little embarrassing, because this is my first review for a book requested from Edelweiss, and I (literally) asked for it (double entendre, intended). Let’s start with the good stuff. The cover art of the book is lovely. Next, the title – so romantic – Cuyahoga (Crooked River). And, the period – WOW – pioneers settling the Northwest Territory, circa early 1800’s, in Ohio City and Cleveland, shortly after Ohio was admitted to the Union as the 17th state, on March 1803. This had all the makings of something I would love: I grew up in the region, I was feeling nostalgic, and the publisher’s blurb was appealing. So where did the book go wrong for me? My expectations. I was looking to be transported to a pioneering atmosphere in a beautiful sylvan and wild nature setting, resplendent with rivers, lakes and falls (so prevalent in the region). Everything was there but in a Phantasmagorical hodgepodge that made no sense to me at all. To compound my confusion, neither the written language nor the writing style was in any way appealing (some kind of poetic device to correlate with the phantasmagorical theme?). (Columbus Street Bridge c. 1837) The story of the rival Ohio City and Cleveland communities attempting to blow up the Columbus Street Bridge is based on some fact, also the Cuyahoga river fires occurred over periods as early as the period of this book due to spills and pollution of flammable materials. As for the rest of the nonsense described, I can’t be sure because it I could not follow much of it. Getting back to the positive, and since a very clever poetic device (certainly any humor) might have gone right over my head, I conclude that if you love fantasy, allegorical, creative language, and literary invention then this may be the book for you. And although I prefer literary convention but don’t want to seem narrow-minded, I’ve rated the book (rounded up to) three stars in deference to my more creative literary Friends (who probably have a better sense of humor than me). Thank you Edelweiss, Scribner, Simon & Shuster, for giving me the opportunity to read Cuyahoga, by Pete Beatty, in exchange for my own, honest opinion.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dax

    Thanks to Scribner and Goodreads for an ARC through the Goodreads giveaway program. The narration through Medium Son, aka 'Meed', was the highlight of the novel. Dialogue and turns-of-phrase galore as he details the adventures and tribulations of his older brother Big Son. Besides Meed and Big, Beatty treats us to a number of memorable characters as well. My problem mostly lies with the story itself. The beginning of this novel sets us up for a tall tale, however the rest of the novel loses steam Thanks to Scribner and Goodreads for an ARC through the Goodreads giveaway program. The narration through Medium Son, aka 'Meed', was the highlight of the novel. Dialogue and turns-of-phrase galore as he details the adventures and tribulations of his older brother Big Son. Besides Meed and Big, Beatty treats us to a number of memorable characters as well. My problem mostly lies with the story itself. The beginning of this novel sets us up for a tall tale, however the rest of the novel loses steam and focuses on a transition in the national spirit. We are treated to a few funny episodes, but I found most of the novel to be on the dull side. If not for Meed's colorful commentary and an occasionally astute observation, I would almost call this novel boring. On the plus side, the ending is surprising and suggestive of that change in the national spirit that Beatty centers his novel around. This novel is really about the death of the mythological age. There's a lot to like here, but I can't help but feel that Beatty had so much more to offer with this book. An author to keep our eye on though. Good, but not great. Three stars.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    DNF 60% I was intrigued by the delightful, unique concept behind this novel, particularly because it is set in my hometown of Cleveland, a place still dear to me that doesn’t often show up in novels. Unfortunately the concept was greater than the reality of this book, which too often veers off into weird for weird’s sake territory and is rife with what feels like forced humor. I’ve never been a big fan of the uneducated dim bulb as narrator, and this book was no exception to that. While the narra DNF 60% I was intrigued by the delightful, unique concept behind this novel, particularly because it is set in my hometown of Cleveland, a place still dear to me that doesn’t often show up in novels. Unfortunately the concept was greater than the reality of this book, which too often veers off into weird for weird’s sake territory and is rife with what feels like forced humor. I’ve never been a big fan of the uneducated dim bulb as narrator, and this book was no exception to that. While the narrator often makes wise observations, in his way, the lens of the simpleton makes it a difficult and often irritating read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    I could not finish this book, hence the one star review. I’m sure somewhere there is a group of people who will really enjoy this book, I was just not one of those people. Perhaps someday I will pick this back up and give it a go when I don’t have a looming TBR or highly anticipated reads. I personally found the switches between 2nd and 1st person as well as the narrators switch from long, prosaic descriptions to plain spoken broken sentences very jarring. It made it hard for me to follow the st I could not finish this book, hence the one star review. I’m sure somewhere there is a group of people who will really enjoy this book, I was just not one of those people. Perhaps someday I will pick this back up and give it a go when I don’t have a looming TBR or highly anticipated reads. I personally found the switches between 2nd and 1st person as well as the narrators switch from long, prosaic descriptions to plain spoken broken sentences very jarring. It made it hard for me to follow the story. Definitely not my cup of tea! * I was provided a free copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.*

  9. 5 out of 5

    Harry Jahnke

    I *lovvvved* this book. Incredibly done. I feel like Beatty perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the Old West(tm) and the way that tall tales were told. I love how Big starts to question if he's becoming a spirit as Johnny Appleseed was and I love how subtle the jealousy Meed feels towards his brother. This book is like a series of small stories that could be told by the campfire and was stitched together into a beautiful and cozy quilt of a narrative. It's a book about how legends are made and I *lovvvved* this book. Incredibly done. I feel like Beatty perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the Old West(tm) and the way that tall tales were told. I love how Big starts to question if he's becoming a spirit as Johnny Appleseed was and I love how subtle the jealousy Meed feels towards his brother. This book is like a series of small stories that could be told by the campfire and was stitched together into a beautiful and cozy quilt of a narrative. It's a book about how legends are made and broken, how people become stories and stories become people. Brilliant in every way.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Picture the cast of Waiting for Guffman performing in a Coen Brothers film, starring Sheila Anderson (Catherine O'Hara) as Cloe. My initial confusion when I started reading quickly turned into a desire to follow these weird and wonderful characters. The first chapter knocked my socks off and there was no turning back. With a smile on my face, I allowed myself to be swept away by this oddly poetic, screwball origin myth. Set in the 1830s Beatty brilliantly makes a connection to the world we live Picture the cast of Waiting for Guffman performing in a Coen Brothers film, starring Sheila Anderson (Catherine O'Hara) as Cloe. My initial confusion when I started reading quickly turned into a desire to follow these weird and wonderful characters. The first chapter knocked my socks off and there was no turning back. With a smile on my face, I allowed myself to be swept away by this oddly poetic, screwball origin myth. Set in the 1830s Beatty brilliantly makes a connection to the world we live in today. This is the stuff that legends are made up.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    The new novel CUYAHOGA from Pete Beatty describes the early days of Cleveland and its rival, Ohio City, across the Cuyahoga River. The story is narrated by a man known as Medium Son or Meed about his brother Big Son. Big is already a legend on the shores of Lake Erie as performing superhuman feats to settle this new land. When someone from Cleveland builds a bridge across the river and only charges tolls on the Ohio side, tensions escalate. Structured as a tall tale like Johnny Appleseed, Paul B The new novel CUYAHOGA from Pete Beatty describes the early days of Cleveland and its rival, Ohio City, across the Cuyahoga River. The story is narrated by a man known as Medium Son or Meed about his brother Big Son. Big is already a legend on the shores of Lake Erie as performing superhuman feats to settle this new land. When someone from Cleveland builds a bridge across the river and only charges tolls on the Ohio side, tensions escalate. Structured as a tall tale like Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, or John Henry, Big Son could have easily been the in the American folk hero canon. The book uses humor to tell the story of these brothers and the quirky community. I listened to this book on audio while reading because the dialect is a little difficult. The performance by Feodor Chin is excellent and I recommend the audiobook if you decide to read this. This wasn’t a book for me. The style as a tall tale means establishes that the narrator is unreliable which separates the readers from the characters so much I didn’t find the story engaging or relatable. The author uses extensive onomatopoeia in the novel which I found distracting. The plot is thin concerning a bridge across a river and several acts of domestic terrorism to destroy it. All was told in jest, but I didn’t find it funny. Perhaps it’s my mood, or perhaps recent events cloud my thinking. After the insurrection in D.C., I don’t find domestic terrorism funny. This book doesn’t feel relevant to present day since it eliminated all references to Native Americans and black people who were part of the founding of Cleveland. (The baseball team is named Indians still.) At the end of the book, I asked myself what was the point of the novel. Without compelling plot, characters, theme, the only reason to read this book is for the humor, which I didn’t find funny. • 📖 🎧 Hardcover / Audiobook • Fiction - Literary, Historical • Published by Scribner on October 6, 2020. ◾︎

  12. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Enjoyed this tremendously. A Twain-ish folk tale set in a version of 1830s Cleveland that probably sorta existed, metaphorically. The internet tells me there was indeed a neighboring Ohio City and the two communities fought (like, literally fought, with guns, crowbars, axes, explosives) over a bridge that bypassed the latter and economically boosted Cleveland at Ohio City's expense. The style and language capture everything perfectly. Generally I hate when writing tries to capture thick drawls o Enjoyed this tremendously. A Twain-ish folk tale set in a version of 1830s Cleveland that probably sorta existed, metaphorically. The internet tells me there was indeed a neighboring Ohio City and the two communities fought (like, literally fought, with guns, crowbars, axes, explosives) over a bridge that bypassed the latter and economically boosted Cleveland at Ohio City's expense. The style and language capture everything perfectly. Generally I hate when writing tries to capture thick drawls or pidgin English but Pete's approach completely works. A billion little details and turns of phrase (e.g., "You are invited to offend yourself") realize the picture: lots of sleeping in barns, getting unexpectedly drunk off a barrel of fermenting apples, odd jobs, affectionately portrayed oxen, social gatherings of all kinds devolving into clobbering and a "general rastle." The menace of the night pigs. And, this is as fine a collection of 19th-century names as one will find in literature.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Berry

    DNF DNF DNF!!!! This has got to be one of the worst books I have read in a long time, if not this entire year! I tried to get through this slim book (262 pages) but I just could not! I don’t even know what the author was trying to do with this! It is just weird, boring, strange! I am not an English major, never claimed to be, but the purposeful grammatical errors in this dreck drove me nuts. It did not add anything to the narrative at all. Scribner is one of the top publishers out there and I pe DNF DNF DNF!!!! This has got to be one of the worst books I have read in a long time, if not this entire year! I tried to get through this slim book (262 pages) but I just could not! I don’t even know what the author was trying to do with this! It is just weird, boring, strange! I am not an English major, never claimed to be, but the purposeful grammatical errors in this dreck drove me nuts. It did not add anything to the narrative at all. Scribner is one of the top publishers out there and I personally do not understand how this manuscript made it through the door! I watched a few minutes of a video on YouTube with the author and Kathy Belden, who green lit the book, to get a different perspective, to help me along with the read, and not only did I not garner anything from the video, I also felt like saying WTF!!! Someone (Kathy Belden) needs to go back to agent school or something. Spent $27.00 on this piece of shit! No redeeming qualities at all!!!! The characters in this book are so damn flat, they could not even escape the prisons of the driveling text if they wanted to! The story itself just laid there. It was hard to follow, and I truly could have cared less about any of this! It’s beyond horrible! Do not read this, move on to something you enjoy! I certainly did not! It says that the author has taught at Kent State and University of Alabama. I am sorry, if my son had this guy as his professor, I would want my money back! Scribner-Do Better!!! There are so many authors out there that pour their hearts out, only to be rejected, and you put this crap through?!?! #dontgetit

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Rosen

    You need to ease yourself into the rhythms of this book, rhythms which may feel dense and impenetrable until you track our narrator’s idiosyncratic speaking style. But once you do (and truthfully, it won’t take that long)...wow, what a wonderful book. Cuyahoga follows the exploits of local larger-than-life Big Son, as related by his brother, Middle (or Meed). What starts as a tall tale expands into a profile of Ohio City and its rival sister city, Cleveland, and ultimately takes some unexpected You need to ease yourself into the rhythms of this book, rhythms which may feel dense and impenetrable until you track our narrator’s idiosyncratic speaking style. But once you do (and truthfully, it won’t take that long)...wow, what a wonderful book. Cuyahoga follows the exploits of local larger-than-life Big Son, as related by his brother, Middle (or Meed). What starts as a tall tale expands into a profile of Ohio City and its rival sister city, Cleveland, and ultimately takes some unexpected turns and takes on a variety of tones. Meed’s voice is at turns expansive and unreliable and insightful and loving and resentful, but ultimately completely compelling. I can’t recommend this book highly enough - such a unique, confident debut for author Beatty.

  15. 5 out of 5

    James Beggarly

    I was lucky enough to get an early copy from Scribner. This is just such a fun romp of a book. A big fable that’s grounded in wonderfully drawn characters. Big Son is constantly performing Paul Bunyan-esque, his brother is a jealous witness and Cloe is the girl they both want. Great period dialogue keeps this book soaring throughout.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    I went from thinking i wouldn’t be able to finish this book to being sad that it was over. The voice takes some getting used to, but once you let yourself sink into it, it takes you like the river. This is a tall tale of the first order. Lots of fun to be had, but don’t expect much in the way of plot or introspection even.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    My most frustrating time during this pandemic was when I misplaced Cuyahoga for a week. Thoroughly inventive and entertaining in a new vernacular. Thank you Pete Beatty for making me laugh out loud and assuaging my fear of night pigs.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Randy Waite

    The author's narrative style got very tiresome very quickly. The author's narrative style got very tiresome very quickly.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Devyn

    I received this book from Goodreads. "We cannot live without gobbling up the world-- taking its trouble into our bones and flesh-- a kick will bust the trouble loose." I am apparently one of the few that enjoyed Cuyahoga enough to finish reading it, but not enough to worship it. "We are guilty of nothing but our nature. They cannot hang us for that. There is not enough rope." I received this book from Goodreads. "We cannot live without gobbling up the world-- taking its trouble into our bones and flesh-- a kick will bust the trouble loose." I am apparently one of the few that enjoyed Cuyahoga enough to finish reading it, but not enough to worship it. "We are guilty of nothing but our nature. They cannot hang us for that. There is not enough rope."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dustin

    I had more fun–true glee–reading this book than any other I’ve read for years and years. It’s an explosion of creativity and jokes and it hooked me and never let go.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Being a good bit rusty in reading the tall-tales genre shouldn't hurt a potential reader of this rip-roarin' saga tailored to an adult audience. Like all good folklore, its fiction is rooted in fact: in this case, the love-hate relationship between burgeoning Cleveland and its sister city (with somewhat of an inferiority complex) on the western banks of the Cuyahoga River--Ohio City--in the early 1800's. The chronicler of this series of ever-more heroic and at times foolhardy, feats of the prete Being a good bit rusty in reading the tall-tales genre shouldn't hurt a potential reader of this rip-roarin' saga tailored to an adult audience. Like all good folklore, its fiction is rooted in fact: in this case, the love-hate relationship between burgeoning Cleveland and its sister city (with somewhat of an inferiority complex) on the western banks of the Cuyahoga River--Ohio City--in the early 1800's. The chronicler of this series of ever-more heroic and at times foolhardy, feats of the preternaturally mighty orphan Big Son of Ohio City is his all-too-human younger brother, Meed (speaking of inferiority complexes). In matters of love and vengeance, heroism and meanness, these brothers attempt to navigate their way to a decent future for themselves and for Ohio City while navigating relations with their less-than-refined community of variously fickle, unschooled, demanding, and unappreciative neighbors and co-workers. Oh, and of course they both have their hearts set on the same worshipped lady-love, the fair farmgirl Cloe. There are dastardly doings afoot between the powers-that-be in Cleveland and in Ohio City, and Big Son and Meed get dragged right into the middle of it all. "Happy ever after" may not be in the cards for them, for all their herculean efforts, and Ohio City's fortunes become very much tied up in theirs. No shortage of far-fetched feats and coarse and colorful language along the way!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Richard Knight

    I'd hate to give this book this score since the writer is obviously super talented to keep the voice he kept for an entire novel, but I HATED this book. It's not very long, but it felt like it took forever. I didn't understand the point of it for the most part, and it felt like two different books. On one hand, it's about the power of myth and the actual reality of that myth. And on the other hand, it's a history of Cleveland. I think I would have liked one of those stories more by themselves, b I'd hate to give this book this score since the writer is obviously super talented to keep the voice he kept for an entire novel, but I HATED this book. It's not very long, but it felt like it took forever. I didn't understand the point of it for the most part, and it felt like two different books. On one hand, it's about the power of myth and the actual reality of that myth. And on the other hand, it's a history of Cleveland. I think I would have liked one of those stories more by themselves, but not so much both of them combined, even though I understand that they are intertwined in this particular story. There are books that I just don't like, and this is one of them. Still, depending on the person, I would recommend it. It's definitely not a book for everyone, but I could see somebody REALLY loving it. Just not me.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Juan

    Shout out to the Cuyahoga River for catching on fire

  24. 5 out of 5

    Steve Sanders

    4.5 stars. Just superb.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Denice Barker

    Cuyahoga by Pete Beatty In 1837 everything was big. The country was big. The horizon was big. The trees were big. Lives were big. People were big. They had to be. There was so much yet to explore, settle, build, the country needed big thinking. Sometimes people were named Big. Big Son had a brother called Medium Son – Meed for short. Meed tells the story of Big in a big fashion. Big could do anything ten men could do together. As Meed tells it, “Big rastled bears and every other creature ten at a Cuyahoga by Pete Beatty In 1837 everything was big. The country was big. The horizon was big. The trees were big. Lives were big. People were big. They had to be. There was so much yet to explore, settle, build, the country needed big thinking. Sometimes people were named Big. Big Son had a brother called Medium Son – Meed for short. Meed tells the story of Big in a big fashion. Big could do anything ten men could do together. As Meed tells it, “Big rastled bears and every other creature ten at a time. Drank a barrel of whiskey and belched fire. Hung church bells one handed. Hunted one hundred rabbits in a day, ate a thousand pan cakes and asked for seconds, drained swamps and cut roads.” Big could do anything he put his mind to, except win the heart of Cloe. But oh, he did his best to try. In tall tale fashion Meed tells Big’s story and he has to because Big is just so big you can’t make him regular. It’s 1837 and Ohio City and Cleveland are in a tussle for metropolis of the West. The Cuyahoga straddles both, one town built almost single handedly by Big and one, well, not. Big and his accomplishments are free entertainment to the settlers but the man needs to earn a living wage so he can ask his Cloe to marry him proper. Hanging heavy on Big’s story is the idea of and need for a bridge to span the Cuyahoga River thus freeing the need for a ferry that cost a penny, big enough money in 1837. There is rivalry among the towns, of course and Big finds himself in the middle of it all. Big’s struggles, the acceptance of a bridge by both towns and its aftermath, Meed’s own need for his own life, Cloe’s future, the struggle for the future of both Ohio City and Cleveland, well, what can I say? This is the most absolute fun I’ve had with a book in awhile. The author’s style (Meed’s telling,) is refreshing, fun, completely entertaining, BIG and I promise you’ll read with a big smile on your face and if you don’t start talking like Meed while you’re reading it I’d be surprised. I can’t wait to see where the author takes us next.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    This debut novel is a wonderfully zany satire of/ode to mid-nineteenth century tall tales of the American West. Beatty is going on my list of authors to watch.

  27. 4 out of 5

    John Purdy

    This book is ADHD suffering from a seizure disorder.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Roger Adams

    I hated everything about this book, from cover to cover. Beatty's work is immature and reeks of forced cleverness. The entirety of the novel reads as if Beatty has read some of the Phunny Phellows (A. B. Longstreet, Petroleum V. Nasby, Artemus Ward, Mark Twain), rewritten some obscure folk tales, set it all in Ohio during the Old Northwest period, then struggled to write in Lewis Grizzard's style of folksy narrative. What got belched out is an almost unreadable novel that may have a few original I hated everything about this book, from cover to cover. Beatty's work is immature and reeks of forced cleverness. The entirety of the novel reads as if Beatty has read some of the Phunny Phellows (A. B. Longstreet, Petroleum V. Nasby, Artemus Ward, Mark Twain), rewritten some obscure folk tales, set it all in Ohio during the Old Northwest period, then struggled to write in Lewis Grizzard's style of folksy narrative. What got belched out is an almost unreadable novel that may have a few original tall tales. The characters are purely idiotic and not funny. And the Cleveland/Ohio City/Cuyahoga jokes are going to be lost on nearly everyone from outside of the Buckeye State. Cuyahoga needed a serious editor primarily because the prose is monotonous, modern doggerel pretending to be early 19th century American dialect. Many college sophomores with a few creative writing classes could--and probably have--written better modern tall tales. The genre is antiquated! It's over and done.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Will Jones

    I have no clue what this book is supposed to be. Whatever it is trying to accomplish totally missed me. I always feel bad leaving one star, but I got nothing out of this. I totally missed it. Oh well.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    Did not finish.

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