Moira Fogarty's Reviews > The Red Pony

The Red Pony by John Steinbeck
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's review
Dec 27, 2011

it was ok
Read on December 27, 2011 — I own a copy

Are you a member of PETA or the SPCA? If yes, please put this book back on the shelf and run away. Animal cruelty is inherent in farm stories but this really lays on the barnyard hurt.

This book takes place on the western side of America, in the pioneer generation just after the great crossing from east to west. It's set on a small farm in what seems to be California. The descriptions of the farm have a quiet beauty that is tempered by the rugged, cruel nature of life and death that are part of the cycle of farming.

Simple dialogue demonstrates the subtle relationships between the four main characters living on the farm: the young boy, Jody, being the main figure whose perspective shapes the tale; his mother and father; and Billy Buck, the ranch hand.

My advice? Skip this story and read Steinbeck's 'Travels with Charley' instead. Much more absorbing, personal, contemporary, and fewer deaths.

Alternately, for a marathon of reading misery, go to your local library and get some nice "companion" novels, such as 'Old Yeller', 'Where the Red Fern Grows', 'Charlotte's Web', 'Marley & Me' and 'The Yearling'.

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