Irene McHugh's Reviews > The Horse Whisperer

The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans
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's review
Jul 03, 2011

bookshelves: wish-i-d-never-wasted-my-time, fiction
Read in January, 2001

As I watched the movie version of this story, I was completely engaged. The accident scene at the beginning is heart-wrenching, but even more so is the scene where Grace has to relive the accident and come to terms with her own guilt. The story line with Grace, Pilgrim and Tom Booker was the central piece to me, while the romance between Tom and Grace's mother was secondary. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie until my friend and I started chatting when the house lights came on, and some stranger said rather snootily, "Well, the book was so much better. The ending in the book is much more complex." Jees, lady. Calm down. You still got to see Robert Redford in all of his glorious backlighting!

Eventually I got around to reading this book. At first I was more engaged with it than the movie. There's a much deeper sense of the family dynamic at work before the accident scene. After the accident, you see even more of that family dynamic as people are arguing over whether or not Pilgrim should be put down. I started to think that maybe snooty movie lady was right.

But then, the story goes to Montana, home of the wild horses and literary cliches. As I read, my head throbbed more and more. Evans explains every bit of his symbolism. I felt like I was trapped in a meeting where the presenter starts his Power Point presentation saying how irritating it is when speakers read their slides and add no insights. However, reading his slides is all the presenter is prepared to do.

The length to which Evans explains how two wild stallions represent Booker and Grace's father is actually painful and insulting. There are no original twists. All events are completely predictable. Rarely, do I summarily dismiss an author. I read Twilight even after hating The Host. Then I dismissed Stephanie Meyer. Evans' depiction of most of the events in Montana is so poor, so completely hackneyed that I cannot even give this book one star. Robert Redford did this story a favor by changing the ending. He made the story about something important. And I got to see his lovely blonde hair in some fabulous backlighting.

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