this book is depressing & sad. It starts off that way & it never gets better. The lead girl sometimes garners sympathy but mainly not, when she ought to feel empathy she never does. She most always chooses cruelty over kindness. Its hard to feel sympathy for anyone in this book but the horses & thats what makes it hard to read....rarely do the horses get treated like anything but crap. I read this thinking itd be similar to "chosen by a horse" and I got more & more horrified chapter by chapter. By the last few pages I knew nothing good was to come but I kept reading bc HEY, you never know!! I dont WANT to give anything away but if you LOVE & ADORE animals like me, this book will break your heart. You will HATE all the characters but one kind hearted soul & the torture inflicted upon the animals in this book will be hard to read about. Also....I used to think that I LIKED sad books, regardless of if they were about humans or animals, I changed my mind. I wish Id never read this book. The torture of horses told about in this book make me wish Id never picked it up.
Debut book by a new author - kept me riveted until the very last page. Told from the viewpoint of a 12 year old girl and the trials and tribulations of her family's struggling horse farm in rural Colorado. At times shocking, at times touching, this book covers many emotions. Not what you might expect. It's better.
Twelve is an odd age. It is the start of the time between child and adulthood. For each of us there is a of memorable events that impact us forever. For Alice Winston that life effecting year is her twelfth year. Sometimes very mature, sometimes childish, sometimes insightful, she relates the impact these events had on her life.
I read mixed reviews on this book but read it anyway. I am glad I did. There are funny moments, sad moments, poignant moments. There are times I wondered about her active imagination and where it would lead her. One conclusion to which she came was that, "Blame is, in fact, irrelevant, if only because it changes nothing." I wish I had learned that in my early teens!
This is a coming of age book that all ages can enjoy.
You will be sucked into Alice's life, a sad one on the family's horse farm. She's adrift with the loss of her one friend, the departure of her sister and the virtual death of her depressed mother. She's a seeker, looking to fill the emotional emptiness in her life through a number of misguided channels. Captivating!
I really enjoyed this book. It's the story of a young girl who when her sister leaves home to get married has to take on the job of helping keep the horse ranch running, with her father. It is a moving story of a young girl and the trouble with growing up, learning of life and how the world works.
I absolutely hated this book, so much that I couldn't even listen to it. It was depressing and boring and I couldn't deal with the few instances of what I felt were abuse of the horses. I got thru a part of the 3rd CD and couldn't take it anymore. I give it a thumbs down!
Unabridged 11.5 (long, boring)hours 10 CDs
Excellent book that deals with a lot of issues I related with. Struggles with growing up, different kinds of love, class issues, father/daughter relationships, life and death...I could go on. There are so many facets to this book -- I am amazed it's the author's first novel. I'm looking forward to her next one.
I read a review of this book in People magazine and was compelled to buy in. It is an emotionally riveting story told in the first person of a young girl; the setting, her family horse ranch. It's definitely different, and somewhat haunting.
Extremely well-written and insightful. Unfortunately around horses, bad things happen, but the author does not dwell on these events -- they are part of what makes up the main characters and necessary to the story line. The narrator was excellent, the novel was amazing, and I highly recommend this. Anxiously awaiting more works by this author!
An excellent story about a young girl coming of age and learning the hard truths of life. Secrets can be kept, but it doesn't change the circumstances surrounding them: kept or not, they still can inflict pain. Life is harsh, but it also holds beauty if we stop long enough to notice and embrace it. A very well written story full of truth. Beautiful, heart-breaking, and hopeful.
A coming of age novel, whose narrator is a 12 year old girl who is raising herself. Apparently her depiction of horses is pretty inaccurate (I can't speak to that personally) but I enjoyed the book, in spite of the hopelessness that ran through it.
At first, I didn't know what to think of the beginning of the book or where it would go. I kept at it and really enjoyed it as other characters came into the picture and other circumstances happened. It kept building until the end, by that time, I was crying. Very well constructed and I kept wondering what was going to happen at the end because I knew that something did. I wasn't disappointed. Also learned some things about horses and competing. I would recommend this book.
This is an excellent animal lover's book. Probably high-level young adult fiction, the writing is superb. I couldn't put it down.
"The God of Animals" was a quiet, but engaging book.
This book is amazing all the way through from start to finish. Each of the first few chapters is so beautifully constructed it could stand alone as a brilliant short. I couldn't believe how much I loved this story and this family and their clients, all their terrible joys and crippling failures, even at the painful end.
Alice's father Joe runs their horse ranch, and her mother is a mental invalid - ever since the day she handed newborn Alice over to her 6 year old daughter Nona she's been bedridden. Now Nona the older sister has run away to marry some rodeo guy she just met, and about the same time that happened, a girl Alice knew at school was drowned in a nearby creek. Alice is sensitive and isolated, she knows she'll never be the talented rider that her sister always was, will never have the kind of money that their obnoxious boarders throw around, and she makes herself vulnerable to an english teacher she spends far too much time on the phone with at night.
I've never been one of those horse-crazy types, but reading Aryn Kyle's descriptions of life training horses, even I could appreciate the attraction: from the miracle of foal birthing and the white-knuckled thrill of blue ribbon victories, to the mundane everyday chores and rhythm of this admittedly dysfunctional family and its business.
So poorly written I seriously contemplated recycling it for the paper.
Fabulous book. I loved it. Propably my favorite book of the last few years. So well-written.
Very well written, unusual novel, told from the vantage point of a young girl growing up on a horse farm. Speaks volumes about the frailty of life and love. This one lingers on the mind long after finishing it.
very good keeps you listening - made the ride to work go by quickly each day while I listened to it.
Very hopeful title but very dark tale that left me with disturbing images. Ugh.
This would make a good movie. It is a good story well told.
There were moments when I really liked this book, but overall wasn't excited about it. Good story concept. Just didn't feel involved with any of the characters. I think the characters could have been revealed a little more in depth.
I started it and couldn't put it down. Read it straight through on a quiet rainy evening. Lovely, soft spoken, heartfelt, gut-wrenching and beautiful. Simply beautiful. All the way through to the end. Well-done Aryn Kyle!
I found this a strange book. I couldn't really identify or empathize with any of the characters, but couldn't put it down either.
What a wonderful book! It was a rather unusual tale told from a 12 year old girl's point of view. It is a heartwrenching story but very well written so that the reader can actually feel the feelings of this young girl and her loneliness and pain. Loved it!
This book was one of the best I have listened to in a while. Life isn't always pretty, this book has some of the those but it also has many good moments. I can see the things in this book happening to a young girl, many I could identify with as a young girl growing up on a ranch and working hard. The last couple of CD's were a little surprising and I will keep you guessing here. It is not a no brainer book so if you are looking for that then this isn't the book for you. But if you are intelligent and want something that will hold you interest this is it.
I really enjoyed this book. Of course, I do love child narrators and like a lot of girls, I went through a horse phase. It was an interesting setting, too, giving the book a sort of timeless feel - making it difficult to pin down the year of the book. This really added to the feel and flow of the entire story. There were a few things that I was surprised didn't turn out to be more of the plot - Polly Cain's death did not have much of a resolution (and I had been so sure she had been murdered...) and the relationship between Alice and her English teacher. Both of those subplots really added to the overall tension of the novel, and they were interesting, but I was surprised at my own wasted worry. The end was a bit of a disappointment, as there was an attempt to make a sort of grand summary that fell a bit flat and left some pretty gaping holes... still it was a very good, surprisingly sad, story.
An outstanding book. I really enjoyed reading this story. Kyle's writing is succinct, lyrical and evokes great emotion. The horses in the story silently hold the family together through highs and lows.