by Tom Groneberg
I\’m disappointed I didn\’t like this book more. Maybe I was just too tired when I read it- I do remember its predecessor better. It\’s a quiet book, about everyday life for a ranch hand, about accepting that things don\’t always turn out how you imagine, and making the best of it all. Four stories are woven together- mainly the author\’s desire to find a young, untrained horse he can teach himself and his family\’s efforts to adjust when they find out their newborn son -one of twins- has down syndrome. There are also brief segments told from the horse\’s point of view, and an alternate storyline from another book set a century earlier, where a cowboy describes working a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. In all the stories there is a sense of finding one\’s self, of growing into life, of coming to appreciate what you end up with. But it jumped around a bit too much for me between the various threads, I could never settle down and get immersed in the story. I assumed from the title that it was mostly about the relationship between this man and his new horse, about the work it took to teach the horse to be ridden- but really that\’s only a small part of the book. And the horse is calm, accepting, fairly easy to train so there\’s nothing very exciting there. Not even a lot of insight or strong description. It kind of just all washed over me.
My experience was an anomaly- all the other reviews I see of this book rate it highly. I am sorry I didn\’t feel the same way about it. I\’m sure it\’s a good book on its own, and one of those instances where I just read it at the wrong time for me.
Rating 2/5 227 pages, 2006