Bobby Simic's Reviews > War Horse

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
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's review
Aug 15, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: historical, kidsstuff, animal

Saw the stage adaptation, this year's Tony Award winner for Best Play, at Lincoln Center not too long ago and was impressed by its technical aspects if a little underwhelmed by its plot and characters.

The book, in a lot of ways, is more complex and devastating, as its told through the eyes of Joey, the farm horse who becomes entrenched into the horrors of World War I, initially recruited by the British Army and then finding his way to the German side. Like the play, the book suffers from its episodic nature, as Joey get passed from owner to owner, and fails to gain traction or momentum. What benefitted the play was that it also told the story of Joey's owner, Albert (cloying in the play and cloying here too), who vows to reunite with his beloved pet, making their reunion more extraordinary and touching.

Still, the book has a pure heart and its antiwar message still resonates today. Offers good insight into the less-familiar of the two World Wars and even into equine behavior. Animal lovers, especially those girls that love horses, will definitely want to pick this up.

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