annapi's Reviews > National Velvet

National Velvet by Enid Bagnold
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bookshelves: fiction, young-adult, ya

I was a little disappointed in this book. I think I have seen the movie, but not sure if I've seen it all straight through. My interest in this spawned from watching International Velvet as a child, and learning about the Elizabeth Taylor movie. After reading this I'm inclined to think the movie was better than the book.

Velvet Brown is horse-mad, and dreams of riding her horse, The Pie, in the Grand National, the premiere steeplechase race of England. Her friend Mi Taylor, assistant in her father's butcher shop, sees the horse jump and realizes he actually has the ability to win. Together they scheme to enter the race and Velvet disguises herself as a boy to ride in it.

That this book is written in 1935 and set in England may be why a lot of the language is obscure to me. It almost feels like a stream of consciousness dialogue in many parts, particularly in Velvet's conversations with her sisters. Old idioms, slang and references of the time constantly went over my head, and sadly I was rather indifferent to most of it as a good deal of the beginning of the book, which established the characters, bored me. When they get around to the race my interest perked up, but the aftermath of the publicity scandal got rather tiresome until it petered out to the end. I read this book for a game, and it was easy enough to get through, but my advice would be to just watch the movie.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 5, 2017 – Shelved
March 5, 2017 – Shelved as: fiction
March 5, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult
March 5, 2017 – Shelved as: ya
March 5, 2017 – Finished Reading

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