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Funerals for Horses

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,764 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
Funerals for Horses, Catherine Ryan Hyde's critically acclaimed first novel (initially published in 1997), is a deeply felt and heartrending story of redemption and love, disappearance and faithfulness, by the author who would go on to be known for the best-selling Don't Let Me Go and Pay It Forward.

Ella Ginsberg's brother, Simon, has disappeared. His clothing, shoes, and
Kindle Edition, 252 pages
Published November 14th 2013 (first published 1997)
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Phyllis Handy Simon had held it together for his sister and just snapped one day.Both of
them had experienced more than any child should.You can't pretend everything…more
Simon had held it together for his sister and just snapped one day.Both of
them had experienced more than any child should.You can't pretend everything is alright forever.Simon loved the stars and went back to the place he first dreamed of being an astronomer.(less)

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I love Ms Hyde's writing style, her storytelling ability, how she can transport the reader into her story. This one however was a bit disjointed for me. the characters were more dysfunctional than others and I had trouble "getting into" their skin. I didn't find the depth I have found in her other books.

That said, she twines together a troubled upbringing with adults who don't know how to cope. The story goes from past to present when the siblings almost change their roles in their relation
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is indescribable.

Written in a past and present context, the author's first scene throws you into this book, are you going to judge or are you going to accept who these people are that the story is about. I found it challenging reading the first page, the way the words were written involved me, forced me to decided, will I judge or will I accept and be open minded?

I chose open mindedness, I wanted to learn more, know more and this book gave me that. Other than Jesus, I doubt anyone cou
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sitting here staring at the usual Goodreads question "What did you think?" and hardly know where to begin. Wow. I've read many dark novels about dysfunctional families, tragic childhoods and mental illness, but this one is hands down the absolute most stunning book on these topics ever.

I don't know what kind of family the author came from, although I've done a bit of research on her (how can you not after reading this story?) and it was clearly not a happy home. Not going into details, beca
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My second book by Hyde. It didn't enchant me as much as "when you were older", but this is also a,much earlier work. Still a very fine novel!

I am loving reading Hyde's books. Her character development is phenomenal. The stories are so unique, so original, they pull you in and don't let go until the very last page. This story of Ella and her brother Simon, of their very dysfunctional childhood is told simultaneously along with current day where they trade rolls and Ella is searching for Simon wh
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first Catherine Ryan Hyde book I have read, and I will definitely read more. Her writing style is very efficient, her prose edited to only the most critical words (as we all strive to do) for maximum impact. It reminded me stylistically of Cormac McCarthy (although she does use quotation marks!) She uses an interesting "now and then" sort of structure, where she switches from current events to past events, with it all somehow coming together. This is a book that would be good if rea ...more
Laura Drake
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not an easy read - but a wonderful one. This is her first published novel, and will be one of my favorites (working my way through all her books now). Told through an unreliable narrator POV, the main character is mentally ill throughout the book, and yet her insights regarding people and the way the world works are childlike and true. Her journey, though hard and downward spiraling, is uplifting. I sobbed at the end.

Pick this one up if you don't mind hard hitting novels with truth as a base.
I s
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is wonderfully written and allows you to fully take on the perspective of the main character---feeling trapped in with her but with necessary times for go up for air when you start to drown. My tip - don't read on a dreary day. It's too much for a dreary day. But, do read it. It will change you a little bit.
Susan Pence
Aug 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not everyone will understand. But then not everyone is Ella or Simon or me for that matter.
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very different from her other books. This one is raw, and the characters are delicately balanced between madness and connection. A good read, but surprising themes from Catherine Hyde. I recommend it.
Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written but too much sexual material could done without.
Jeanne Abbott
May 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Story that has difficulty deciding what story to tell

Was this story about Ella or Simon? Why did Simon walk away from his life.? Why did Ella decide she had to walk to find him? What causes Ella's blindness? Why did Dee Dee kill herself? Too many unanswered questions. Definitely my least favorite works from this author
Dee Miller
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Intricately-developed plot about overcoming a traumatic childhood

More than any of Hyde's books, this one leaves readers to search for potential understanding that I suspect can continue for years to come. Such a search may turn into the discovery of a personal set of hidden strengths, same as the woman in this amazing story finds.
Cheryl Gocken
Apr 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Just a beginning

I bought the book for the title and got so much more. Never read anything by this author before, but will be checking out her other works. Humbling to remember that even the damaged have strengths deep inside and we are all damaged in some fashion.
Jul 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THIS is a great book! compelling disturbing enchanting..can it be all three? Lovely, sad, real lead character, Ella tells a wandering but oddly coherent tale...try to read just one chapter and you'll be sucked in for the whole wild ride.
Kimberly Bartley
Nov 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating story of a descent into madness and into sanity.
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book. The main character is so well developed that you actually understand her insane perspective. A gripping tale that cost me a night of sleep because I couldn't put it down.
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly hard book to describe. Very well written but very deep with few boundries. Must have an open mind. It's a book you won't forget.
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
"I knew I would have my work cut out for me, wondering whether I needed to feel bad or not." This quote sums up the general aura of this book, as the main character wavers between sanity and madness, coping as best she can. Ella's mother is crazy, her father is an absent pedophile, and her sister is a suicide. So Ella is left in the care of brother Simon, and the two of them stay close and manage to keep afloat amid the mess and confusion.
The story fluctuates between Ella's childhood past and he
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Having loved the movie Pay It Forward but never read the book, I decided to read my way through Catherine Hyde's works. Though they have all been very enjoyable, none of them have felt as raw and real as PIF, until this book. It is much heavier and dark than her other work, but it also rings more true, less happily-ever-after, than her other work. I loved how real the characters' emotions were. I loved that there wasn't a tidy ending because it felt so real. I love the bravery in exploring chara ...more
Sarah Patt
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
A child commits suicide in the very beginning of this heart wrenching story, so right away the reader is brought into an extremely dysfunctional family with mental illness. This novel is definitely an emotional roller coaster, but I couldn't put it down because I remained hopeful the two remaining siblings would get the help they needed! Hyde did it again . . . teaching her readers to reflect on . . . LIFE!
charlotte Huff
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have never read anything by this author before but intend to remedy that in the future. I really enjoyed this book and I couldn't put it down and I just love books that capture me from the beginning to the end. I especially loved the main character and felt as if I were traveling on her quest with her.
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
A raw and beautiful book, the prose is spare and yet unequivocally on point. A heartbreaking and brutal and hopeful story all at once. I only gave it 4 stars because I couldn't sleep the night I finished it... so really maybe it should be 5.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those with mental health challenges
Funerals for Horses is recommended to those who have struggled to overcome mental health challenges. If you know anyone with mental health challenges it is my firm opinion that they be given a copy of this novel to help them get through hard times.
Joanne M. Delude
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book

After reading my first Catherine Ryan Hyde books, I wanted to try another. Funeral for horses is a wonderful story. I will continue to read books from this author with pleasure.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Starts slow

I didn't think I was going to like this book very much when I first started reading it, but I grew more interested the more I read. It's not one of my favorites by her, but it was good.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more than I did....
Susan Coley
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I’m glad this wasn’t the first of Catherine Hyde Ryan’s books I read. It was so sad. I didn’t care for the sexual parts. I guess that just added to the unease of the book.
Mary Peake
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was ok

Up until now I have really enjoyed this author's books. So disappointed in this one. Hard for me to follow. Sad.
Angela Richter
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
One Word.....WOW

Read this in one day! Too much unnatural sex for me but there were truths that slapped my face. WOW
Barbara J. Thomas
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it

A bit confusing going back and forth between now and then. But she did stick it out to a satisfactory conclusion.
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I'm an avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, and have released my fir
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“sex is what you make it, and we have always made do. To assume sex must take place within touching distance seems, to me, limited thinking.” 2 likes
“They just want to kill the pain. Everybody just wants to kill the pain.” 2 likes
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