Rating 4* out of 5. This was a perfect summer read. :-) I'm a little upset with the ending though and am wondering if the author wrote some sort of fo...moreRating 4* out of 5. This was a perfect summer read. :-) I'm a little upset with the ending though and am wondering if the author wrote some sort of follow-up so that it's possible to know what happened to some of the female leads she so brutalized.
The book is set in the rather snotty, jet-set show jumping world. There is "gypsy Jack" who wants to compete, but has no means. Until he marries the unbecoming but rich Tory. Eventually Tory's competitive little sister Fen joins the yard and her star too begins to rise.
At the upper end of the social ladder is Rupert. He's got large resources, the best horses and lots of women. He's a womanizer like no other and an arch villain. Then Rupert comes across a beautiful American red-head, Helen,whom he can't immediately get into bed. Eventually he marries her. The marriage is naturally an unhappy one, since Rupert is so supremely egocentric.
The paths of the main characters cross on many occasions and the results are often very interesting. I enjoyed the detailed descriptions of their relationships. By the middle I was peeved when I couldn't read as much as I liked. I finished the last few hundred pages by the pool yesterday. (less)
I wish I would have read this when I was 12 years old. I would have felt a deep affinity with Pam - her love for freedom and horses. Her strength and...moreI wish I would have read this when I was 12 years old. I would have felt a deep affinity with Pam - her love for freedom and horses. Her strength and her vulnerability. I would have learned a few things about equality as well. This is a book I would have read ten, twenty times, had I come across it twenty years ago. I stopped re-reading horse books (or any books for that matter) at the age of 14-15, that was when I started reading adult novels. Not that I ever really grew out of children's books, but I don't read anything over and over and over again.
In this book, Alec has just fired a drunken horsehand, when Pam shows up. She asks to work for him and he lets her as she shows skill and patience. Back at the racetrack trainer Henry is less than impressed with Alec's decision. He doesn't want women around horses, they only cause trouble. Alec is sent back to Hopeful farm on a mission to fire Pam, but he can't. He's falling in love with her. The details of the love story are sparse, but eventually she follows Alec to the race track. In confronting Henry it is suddenly decided that Pam should race Black Sand, the colt she was training on Hopeful farm, in his first race. Uh oh. Pam might be great with horses, but she has no experience racing.
I like Farley's take on feminism, he smoothly avoids the worst of the pit falls. Pam is a little too perfect perhaps, and she is more feminine than feminist. That is the point though, she shouldn't have to behave like a man to be worthy, and she doesn't. She's small and fragile, braids flowers into the manes of the horses, dances in the dark and stands her own - yet there is no question of her mental strength and determination to live her life as she wants, rather than as dictated by others. Pam stays true to herself throughout.(less)
Loved everything Black Stallion when I was a kid, but I read the books in Swedish so it's not always easy to know what they were in English. I particu...moreLoved everything Black Stallion when I was a kid, but I read the books in Swedish so it's not always easy to know what they were in English. I particularly enjoyed this book - which I have read multiple times - when I a few years later became involved in the "trotting" world. For about ten years of my life I lived and breathed for everything "horse". Eventually I decided that I was better cut out for a desk job and went to college to get a business degree. Working with horses as a professional usually means gruelling and unpredictably long hours with little earnings. The hours I work tend still to be long, but I am duly compensated.(less)
I read this book in 1990 or 1991, in Swedish, when I was in 7th grade. I had to write a review and read it in front of class. I couldn't remember the...moreI read this book in 1990 or 1991, in Swedish, when I was in 7th grade. I had to write a review and read it in front of class. I couldn't remember the author, but I remember traces of the story and the name of the horse - Joey. When I saw the first clips from the upcoming movie my first thought was that "this looks very familiar". When I was considering to buy this book, I realized that either this was plagiarism or that I had read this before. Naturally I loved the book at the time when I read it - I was crazy about horses, to put it mildly. The war theme was overwhelming and made a deep impression on my young and unsullied mind. (less)
This book is about Jeannette Walls' grandmother Lily. Not strictly a biography, but close. Perhaps the three star rating is a tad unfair, because this...moreThis book is about Jeannette Walls' grandmother Lily. Not strictly a biography, but close. Perhaps the three star rating is a tad unfair, because this was a quite fascinating book that held my interest easily. However, the writing is uneloquent and choppy.
Lily was a bone-tough woman and easy to admire. Every time she got knocked down she'd get back up. She started working as a teacher very young and eventually got a college degree.
"Kids were like horse in that things went a lot easier if you got their respect from the outset rather than trying to demand it after they'd started seeing what they could get away with". [page 90] Lily was not above giving the children a good spanking and in later years that meant she often did not keep her positions for long.
She got married late, when she was 29 years old. Considering the time and age, this was really late. The lesson she tried to get across to her children and students was this:
"I wanted to get across the idea that the world was a dangerous place and life was unpredictable and you had to be smart, focused, and determined to make it through. You had to be willing to work hard and persevere in the face of misfortune. A lot of people, even those born with brains and beauty idn't have what it took to knuckle down and get things done".
Lily certainly was a woman with gumption. I just wish the writing had been a little bit smoother.(less)
Neurotic Annamarie Zimmer lives on her parent's horse farm with her mother and daughter. She is dating her highschool sweetheart Dan, whom she thinks...moreNeurotic Annamarie Zimmer lives on her parent's horse farm with her mother and daughter. She is dating her highschool sweetheart Dan, whom she thinks she should have married instead of her ex-husband Roger who is the father of her willful daughter Eva. Annamarie had a devastating accident 20 years ago, where she broke her neck and lost her horse. The physical trauma has healed, but not the emotional one. Her daughter Eva is constantly testing her mother's nerves, who duly responds by overreacting. Eva is an excellent rider and would like to make a career out of it. Reluctantly Annamarie agrees. She changes her mind when the horse Eva gets by her trainer is one that doesn't let anyone ride him, but by then it is too late.
This is a perfectly okay read. A bit far-fetched at times - particularly the fate of the ex-husband and his family - but mostly a believable and fairly entartaining read. It's a bit rough around the edges - perhaps because of Annamarie's nerves - and not at all like the seductively smooth "water for elephants" by the same author. If you love horses it is likely you'll like this novel. If horses aren't your thing, this book probably isn't either.(less)
Rating 2* out of 5. This was like reading "A portrait of a lady" by Henry James - boring beyond belief. The writing is okay, but nothing much happens...moreRating 2* out of 5. This was like reading "A portrait of a lady" by Henry James - boring beyond belief. The writing is okay, but nothing much happens which isn't totally predictable.
It's the age of the Great Depression. Teenager Thea, half of a fraternal pair of twins, has done something horrible and is sent away to the Yonahlossee riding camp for girls so that her family doesn't have to see her. It seems a bit harsh and she is rather whiny to start with. The story of what Thea did comes out little by little. The depression gets worse.
The descriptions of the camp reminded me of the first "parent trap" movie - that was my main association. Other than, this book is totally immemorable and I will have forgotten all about it in a couple of days. I didn't hate it though, thus the two star rating. Maybe this is worse. At least I usually remember the one-star books and at least they managed to evoke emotion, even if it was of a negative kind. (less)
Annemarie Zimmerman is a talented young rider, apparantely destined for the olympics. That is, until she has a devastating accident with her horse Har...moreAnnemarie Zimmerman is a talented young rider, apparantely destined for the olympics. That is, until she has a devastating accident with her horse Harry, breaking her neck and being immobilised in hospital for weeks, taking months to recover completely. Harry did not survive the accident. Twenty years later, Annemarie's husband dumps her for a young intern and she return's to her parents farm with her teenage daughter. Annemarie's father has ALS. Annemarie's old boyfriend Dan turns up with a rescue horse, badly traumatized, that looks just like Harry and this quickly becomes her new obsession.
Somewhere along the lines this fairly entertaining, heart-warming story goes entirely off keel. Ugh. Maybe it starts with Annemarie's father's suicide. Despite this disease being extraordinaly horrific, it is extremely unusual for ASL patients to kill themselves. They usually find a mental strength beyond normal human capabilities. Anyway, the story does not recover after this. I'm a little sorry I bought the sequel at the same go and I'm not feeling particularly inspired about Sara Gruen's "water for elephants either". It could all have been so much better if it hadn't had the long, slobby, middlepart. Since the main character is having a middle age crisis, the book also misses the mark with the 14-year olds that might otherwise have made the most appropriate audience.(less)