Mar 29, 11
Read in January, 2011
I give this book 5 stars and would have made it more if I could. It was an absolutely absorbing tale, covering the stories of the jockey, owner, trainer, and yes, the horse. Who knew a writer could get inside the head of a horse? Yet Laura Hillenbrand did, and made us love that horse who struggled through his early years as an unappreciated, so-so racer on his way down until a trainer with a good eye, an owner with a lot of trust (and money), and a skilled, sensitive jockey all came together to turn this horse into a legend.
I admit this book brought tears to my eyes many times, not just for the struggles of Seabiscuit but for the terrible trials of the Red Pollard, the jockey, on his own at age 15 during the depression. The descriptions of his life and that of all jockeys of that time are grueling, making one wonder how any of them survived. The contrast of his life to that of Charles Howard, Seabiscuit's owner, is stark, but the story of how they came together for a few golden years is awe inspiring.
There's humor in the book, too. Trainer Tom Smith, who talked little but did much, is particularly enjoyable with his many schemes to keep his beloved horse away from the invasive press. Even Seabiscuit comes across as funny, once he became aware of his own abilities and apparently enjoyed toying with lesser racers beside him.
All in all, a wonderfully written book. Don't pass it up!