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The Red Pony

3.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  37,809 Ratings  ·  1,320 Reviews
Raised on a ranch in northern California, Jody is well-schooled in the hard work and demands of a rancher's life. He is used to the way of horses, too; but nothing has prepared him for the special connection he will forge with Gabilan, a hot-tempered pony his father gives him. With Billy Buck, the hired hand, Jody tends and trains his horse, restlessly anticipating the mom ...more
Paperback, 95 pages
Published March 3rd 2011 by Puffin (first published January 1st 1933)
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Jason Koivu
Feb 03, 2015 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A story about a pretty, pretty precious pony? Hurray! This is going to be giggly-joyous, laughy-good pony times!...What? It's written by John Steinbeck? Fuck. Sorry pony, you or everyone you love is going to die.

Yes, these are tales of living on a ranch in the early days (well, early-ish) of California, but underneath they are more of the same Steinbeck: the vignettes of the hardscrabble life of immigrant farmers.

Specifically, it's second and third generation immigrants, such as seen in Tortil
Jun 17, 2011 Sunday rated it really liked it
DIRTY CONFESSION: I've wanted to pick up "The Red Pony" since I first read "Matilda" by Roald Dahl. There's that ultra-fabulous scene where Matilda's weasel father rips up the book and calls it trash and so on, and Matilda defends "The Red Pony" by calling it "lovely," and inside I'm imagining all the times I had books taken from me and ripped and burned and thrown away because they were "trash."

Alright, I stopped hyper-ventilaing in the therapist chair and I'm back to finish the book review. T
Sep 21, 2010 Michael rated it liked it
Shelves: literature, 1900-1949
Next time you decide to make a printing of The Red Pony, feel free to borrow one of these free blurbs.

"Do you like people hanging around on a farm? Do you like horses and animals and stuff? Then you'll think this book is okay! It has horses, and grass, and farms and stuff, and is an easy read."


"John Steinbeck is a writer of amazing stature in American literature. He stands head and shoulders above just about anyone, wiping his feet on Faulkner, flicking Mark Twain out of his way like a littl
I don't think I could read a Steinbeck novel by the fire with a glass of wine. No, more like on the back porch wearing old jeans and a work shirt, because you feel like you may get your jeans dirty and your boots dusty, and maybe even a little blood on your shirt. That's the power of his writing, his characters and settings; he will draw you in, even if you don't want to be. Not much fun inside a Steinbeck novel, at least the ones I've read. That kind of power is on display here in The Red Pony. ...more
Dec 12, 2015 Stephanie rated it liked it
Shelves: finished-2015
The Red Pony by John Steinbeck is a great coming of age story set in the Depression era on a California ranch. The book consists of four separate short stories, focusing on the life of Jody, a ten year old boy. His mother, father, and Billy Buck (the experienced ranch hand) are also key characters. Life on the farm is tough and the family and how they live is quite structured and disciplined. Discipline over emotion.

 photo DOC152_zps2sgi779d.jpg

In these four stories, Jody learns hope, joy, disappointment, and sadness th
Oct 28, 2007 k.wing rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Steinbeck fans
WARNING! HORSE-LOVERS: DON'T READ THIS BECAUSE YOU THINK IT WILL BE ABOUT HORSES AND DON'T REVIEW IT SAYING THAT THAT'S WHAT YOU EXPECTED BECAUSE I JUST WARNED YOU. I am sorry if you were forced to read this book for school - it would really take the beauty out of it if someone forced you to read The Red Pony. I feel that way about all Steinbeck books actually.

It is a little difficult to get into in the beginning, but overall, this book shows the raw and unpredicible way people deal with their e
Lisa Bodin
Sep 11, 2007 Lisa Bodin rated it really liked it
Shelves: booksread
I love this book. It's short, succinct, and encapsulates the dramatic, but realistic suffering side of life in three ways: the red pony, the black colt, and Jody's relationship with adults.

The Red Pony's also peppered with moments of human courage, brilliance and love. Jody's devotion to the red pony is sweet, and his idolization of Billy Buck is, I think, a realistic representation of how boys look up to men.
Steinbeck’s Got a Hold in Me
(A Book Review of John Steinbeck’s The Red Pony)

It all started on a lazy Sunday afternoon, a day I presume to be just like any other. However, what made it a little bit interesting and special, at best unforgettable, can be attributed to one simple man who goes by the name of John Steinbeck, whose unassuming, not over a hundred pages, little book tilted The Red Pony is the ticket all I ever need to beckon me back to that country called the classics, to which I, as of
Dec 09, 2008 Alayna rated it it was ok
I struggled to finish this book. And it has about 100 tiny little pages. I can read that in an hour or so. And yet, I struggled for at least 5 days to finish this book. In fact, the ONLY reason I forced myself to finish was so I could read the online cliff notes and try and figure out what I missed. What meaning or significance could make it worth my reading. This was not an enjoyable reading experience, to say the least - except for that baffling "you must be kidding" sentiment at the end of ea ...more
halfway into my morning hike there's a small trailer off the side of the trail and the guy who lives there leaves out a bucket of fresh water for passing dogs. it's my favorite part of the walk because jack doesn't lap at the water but dunks his entire snout in there and kinda gulps it down. he then pulls his face from the bucket and for the next thirty yards or so leaves two thin trails of water dripping down from either jowl.

from the red pony:

"At last he walked snorting to the water-trough an
Sep 25, 2012 Jessika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was completely blown away by this short novel. Completely. Blown. Away. I'm not going into a lengthy review here, but let me talk about some points.

Okay, so this novel isn't really about horses. I'm thinking there are a lot of people out there missing the point. The Red Pony isn't what I would call one cohesive novel, but rather a collection of several glimpses into the farm/ranch life of Jody. The whole point of the pony is that Jody is learning to grow up, and he's learning that life isn't
Dec 08, 2014 Carol rated it liked it
Well.....this Steinbeck classic was not at all what I was expecting. It depicts the dark side of ranch life and the dreadful way animals are treated, sometimes out of necessity (but still hard to stomach) and other times out of down right meanness and cruelty.

I did not care for father Carl or his young son Jody (at times) and felt sorry for horses, dogs, cats, birds, the old lonely wandering man Gitano coming home to die, and the treatment of Jody's aging grandfather.

Of course, the purpose behin

Mar 08, 2008 Andy rated it really liked it
My reintroduction to Steinbeck began with The Red Pony.

Sure I had read Of Mice and Men and Grapes Of Wrath in High School, but that was a number of years ago, and I can hardly remember either.

I found The Red Pony (a mass market paperback edition) all worn and hidden on one of the bookshelves in the classroom I work in. Apparently before it was my room, the teacher used to use it as a classroom text for 4th graders. The cover was striking and I'd been meaning to start reading some Steinbeck ever
Mar 21, 2013 Rowena rated it it was ok
I've learned not to feel guilty about not liking books by great authors. With that being said, I give this book a 2-star rating with no feelings of remorse. It's not a terrible book, I just never really connected with the story. In all honesty I was quite underwhelmed, considering how much I enjoyed Of Mice and Men. I will definitely be reading more of Steinbeck, I'm sure I'll enjoy his others a lot more than this one.
Aug 27, 2008 Melissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Steinbeck or short stories about ranch life.
Shelves: 2008
I sometimes don’t enjoy Steinbeck because his storylines can make me mad at the world. He’s not really known for happy stories, is he? Having known Steinbeck usually goes from bad situation to worse, I was not expecting a heartwarming horse story a la Misty of Chincoteague when I picked up The Red Pony. I daresay I was right. Staying true to form, it is free and clear of clichés, sentiment, and last minute miracles. If you hated the movie Spirit, you'll be pleased.

The Red Pony is a collection of
Oct 07, 2007 Kate rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
If I could give this less stars I would. It's not about a Red doesn't even SYMBOLIZE a red pony, nor does the actual red pony, who turns out to be insignificant, symbolize anything. It's just loooong Seven Years in Tibet-length descriptions of the clouds and landscape. I swear he spent five frikkin' pages on the rancher's moustache. Just awful.
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
Steinbeck is wonderful in these 4 loose vignettes that make THE RED PONY a small, but powerful novel. He brings his succinct crisp prose to create life lessons Jody Tiflin must learn without supercilious detail. Readers know Jody is a shy, quiet boy whose sensitivity brings tears to our eyes. He just wants his father’s love; barring that, someone or something that will give him affection. He learns that no man is infallible in life, in remembrance, in death, and there is quiet dignity in everyth ...more
Mar 21, 2013 Nikki rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
Steinbeck writes beautifully. It doesn't matter what he's writing about, I think I'd read it anyway for the measured, deliberate, crystal-clear prose.

The Red Pony is not really about the pony. I'm sure as a lit student I could find a lot to say about it, but I'm happier sitting back and letting it happen. It's about growing up and coming to understand life, in stages, and as such it has no end: Jody's a little older and wiser at the end than the beginning, but he has a long way to go still too.
Jan 09, 2009 Kira rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 20, 2008 Emily rated it it was amazing
One of the most vivid books my mom ever read-aloud to me when I was a girl. I still distinctly remember the images that were painted in my mind with this vivid portrait of the rough life of a ranching family.

Jody's need to love and be loved by his brusque father, and the sudden understanding of death and its contrast to life are so stark; it made my sisters and me weep hot tears as my mom read. I still remember the way my heart heaved and ached as I heard the climax of this story.
aPriL does feral sometimes
I read this short novel of linked events when I was in the fifth grade. At the time, I didn't like it much. I can see why I disliked it more clearly in reading it now as an adult, even though I think the stories are a good introduction to literary writing for older elementary children. However, I can't imagine a child understanding the book's depths unless given age-appropriate guidance from an adult. Even with that guidance, the book could seem dated or too distant from their present lives with ...more
Maryam Hosseini
این کتاب توضیحات خوب و جالبی رو راجع به اسبها، نگهداری از اونها و... میده
.و جذابترین قسمت کتاب هم همین بخشهاست
.اما بطور کل ، داستان اونقدرها هم گیرا نیست
.بنظرم میتونه برای نوجوونها خیلی جذابتر و خوندنی تر باشه
Ivan Lutz
Dec 07, 2015 Ivan Lutz rated it it was amazing
u mnogočemu, svi mi koji smo odrastali s ocem koji je stalno nešto radio, možemo se poistovjetiti s Jodyjem. Steinbeck se kirurški precizno sjeća djetinjstva i emocije oko stvari koje su nam davali stariji ukazujući na povjerenje, a mi smo gorjeli da im dokažemo da to povjerenje i zaslužujemo. Da, to se zove odrastanje, učenje o vrijednostima života... a kad majka vidi da praviš limunadu drugome bez da tražiš limunadu i za sebe, onda joj je jasno da te dobro odgojila i da postaješ dobar čovjek. ...more
Jun 16, 2013 Paul rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
John Steinbeck's "The Red Pony" is a concise read about the life lessons of a young boy growing up in the rural life in northern California. At first, the book came across as a dull story of juvenile dreams and innocence within a still, pastoral backdrop, like the literary version of a Thomas Kinkade painting. But as the story progressed, the characters no longer felt boring and flat. Situations on the ranch rile up within these characters some emotional depth, which makes them more interesting. ...more
Sara Steger
Nov 04, 2015 Sara Steger rated it really liked it
Who captures the disappoint and tragedy of everyday life like Steinbeck? The Red Pony takes place on a farm (and for those of you who have never spent time on a real farm, I can tell you that life is hard and nature is cruel). The boy, Jody, is coming of age and being faced with what it is to be human, to cope with loss, to watch the death of dreams, and to do this in the shadow of a father who tolerates no sentimentality. The last section in this series of tales in Jody's life is the most poign ...more
Jul 28, 2011 Malbadeen rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People with strong stomaches and cold hearts
Recommended to Malbadeen by: a dork with a bad memory
This book punched me in the stomach, kicked me in the butt, and stomped on my foot. I'll take partial blame for that though, because it might not have been such a shock had I not listened to my friend's comment on the book. When I mentioned to him that I was reading it he flippantly said, "oh that's a cute book". So imagine my surprise when one gruesome and gut wrenching event after another filled the pages of this story.

I'm not sure if I "liked" the book or not. I am sure that next time my frie
Darth J
Jun 22, 2013 Darth J rated it it was ok
Shelves: school-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Morgan Bancroft
May 26, 2011 Morgan Bancroft rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 12, 2014 Zanna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Steinbeck doesn't rush, and wastes no words in this cycle of tales about ten year old 'little boy' Jody and his life on a ranch farm with his strict father, mother and Billy Buck the ranch hand. Jody's seemingly simple life is rich in harsh, bitter lessons about loss, death, heritage and fellowship.

Not a word is out of place in this economical work, and everything is foretold from the start. The inevitable approaches, and every cloud, every clod of dirt, every whine of Doubletree Mutt, signals i
Rachel Brown
For artistic merit, I would give this four to five stars. As a reflection of how much I enjoyed it, zero to one. I guess I'll compromise on two.

Yes, I was one of the no doubt many horse-loving girls who got this book foisted on her by some adult who only read the title. Not only - SPOILER - does the pony die in graphically described and prolonged agony, but there is also a really gross description of the pony's owner expressing his grief by beating a vulture to death. (The vulture was eating the
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John Steinbeck III was an American writer. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939 and the novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. In all, he wrote twenty-five books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and several collections of short stories.

In 1962 Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley
More about John Steinbeck...

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“No matter how good a man is, there's always some horse can pitch him.” 5 likes
“It would be a dreadful thing to tell anyone about it, for it would destroy some fragile structure of truth. It was truth that might be shattered by division.” 5 likes
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