The Red Pony
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The Red Pony

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  31,993 ratings  ·  991 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, 128 pages
Published March 3rd 2011 by Puffin (first published 1933)
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Jason Koivu
A story about a pretty, pretty precious pony? Hurray! This is going to be giggly joyous laughy-good pony time!...What? It's written by John Steinbeck? Fuck. Sorry, pony, either you and/or everyone you love is going to end up dead.

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 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants, such as s...more
Michael
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."

Or:

"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...more
Sunday
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...more
Lisa Bodin
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.
jzhunagev
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...more
k.wing
Oct 28, 2007 k.wing rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Alayna
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
brian
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...more
Andy
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...more
Rowena
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.
Melissa
Aug 27, 2008 Melissa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Jess Michaelangelo
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...more
Kate
Oct 07, 2007 Kate rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
If I could give this less stars I would. It's not about a Red Pony...it 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.
Kira
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nikki
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.
Emily
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.
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
Paul
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
Zanna
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...more
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...more
Malbadeen
Jul 28, 2011 Malbadeen rated it 3 of 5 stars
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...more
Katarina
To be fair, I might have appreciated this book more if I had read it yesterday rather than back in 8th grade. But I don't think I would have rated it much better.

Parts of the narrative remain vividly in my mind, like where Steinbeck describes the braining of a buzzard. Yeah, I don't need that. Ever. Sadly, many of the less graphic, more appealing parts of the story weren't memorable.

I wasn't impressed with the construction of the narrative, either. It's broken down into 4 more-or-less distinct...more
Shylyn Ickes


The book I was reading is called, The Red Pony by John Steinbeck. At first I thought it was going to be a boring book by the way it started out but as I kept getting further into the book it started getting a lot better. I would highly recommend everyone to read this book. Once you start reading it you won't be able to stop.

At the begging of the book it was talking about the father giving his son a horse and telling him that he has to take care of him and that he isn't able to ride on yet. So...more
Connor Stack
This is not a book of four chapters so much as a collection of four short stories that have the same setting and characters. Each stands on its own. Additionally, there was a truly separate short story at the end of my copy called Junias Maltby, which is a great, hilarious allegory which I probably enjoyed more than the main story.

Each chapter deals with some sad event, mostly to do with death and growing old. As far as I can tell, the book is about facing the harsh reality of nature. A lot of c...more
Jessica
I don't get it. I just don't understand the point of this book. It was beautifully written, I really enjoyed the descriptive and almost lyrical prose, but the story was just pointless. It was just a series of sad events. I read it because its a classic, I won't bother reading it again.
Morgan Bancroft
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew
This book was a stupid waste of time. The correlation of the red pony to the rest of the story is vague at best. Although Jody is annoying as shit sometimes, it seems like everyone else around him (save for the pony and the colt) are total dicks and actually made me sympathetic to his character. Talk about an emotionally dysfunctional family dynamic. You've got a father that's so insecure (about what? I don't know) that he constantly bosses and berates everyone else in the family including his f...more
Joe Schalkowski
I read the book “The Red Pony.” The book was about a young boy named Jody. Jody is a ten year old boy who lives on his father, Carl Tiflin’s, ranch. One day when his father went with the farm hand, Billy Buck, over the hill to go to the city, they bring back a little red pony. When Jody gets home from school that day, he walks in the house to dinner. When everyone is done eating dinner, Carl tells Jody to meet him out by the barn. Carl shows him the pony and Jody falls in love. Jody raised the p...more
Melano (Melania) Durmishidze
“The red pony” is my second book by John Steinbeck. I found difficult to read and understand this book honestly. The Red Pony is a collection of four short stories, each involving a boy named Jody and his family on their ranch. In the first story, Jody gets a red pony. In the second, a stranger comes to the ranch. In the third, Jody cares for an expecting mare. In the fourth, Grandpa comes for a visit. All of the stories are more about people than any pony. Sincerely one of the reasons I starte...more
Martha
The Red Pony. It has been about 40 years since I read this last. I have been looking at this book on my shelf yearning to read it again because it provoked warm emotions in my memory for some reason. Well, I just finished re-reading it, and did not remember much at all except the characters names: Jody, Billy Buck and Gabilan (the red pony). So, it was like reading a brand new story.

It is almost unbelievable what Jody goes through as a 10-year-old, but at that time in history, on a ranch, it is...more
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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
More about John Steinbeck...
Of Mice and Men The Grapes of Wrath East of Eden The Pearl Cannery Row

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“No matter how good a man is, there's always some horse can pitch him.” 2 likes
“The bird looked much smaller dead than alive. Jody felt a little mean pain in his stomach, so he took out his pocketknife and cut off the bird's head. Then he disemboweled it, and took off its wings; and finally he threw all the pieces into the brush. He didn't care about the bird, or its life, but he knew what older people would say if they had seen him kill it; he was ashamed because of their potential opinion.” 1 likes
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