Jan Priddy's Reviews > The God of Animals

The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle
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's review
Aug 03, 2012

it was amazing
Recommended to Jan by: Matt Johnson
Recommended for: love and failure and finding your way, coming of age, horses, bittersweet, authentic, West
Read from August 01 to 03, 2012

THE GOD OF ANIMALS by Aryn Kyle (2007) was lent to me by a co-worker. I brought it home for the summer and came across it just the other day, not expecting to love it, to carry it around with me for two days, to laugh and cry, and to lose myself in the story of “dreams that never come true” and the terrible truth of what does. Alice Winston is twelve, living on a horse ranch in Colorado, and trying to understand everything. The book begins: “Six months before Polly Cain drowned in the canal, my sister, Nona, ran off and married a cowboy.” Alice is not the show rider her sister was, she doesn't have the sort of mother who gets out of bed in the morning to make breakfast, she’s not popular at school, and Polly Cain was never her friend, but by the end of this debut novel, competitive riding, her sister, her ghost of a mother, and the ghost of Polly Cain will turn her life along a path she never saw coming.

A warning, another review commented that there is no god of animals (only there should be), and yes, this book has the heartbreak of Steinbeck's The Red Pony. If you are squeamish, this might not be the one to read. Alice has been around horses all her life and that means she's seen the bad stuff, not just the pretty action in the show ring. You will not be spared.

Another bad review compared this to The Lonely Bones, which was a well written book that I, like the reviewer, did not like. But there is a lot more here than a pretty story about a little murdered girl coming back from the dead. There is a lot more here.

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