Yet again, it is that time. The time when I post a book review so that you can think to yourself, Reeser…who seriously has time to read so much? Well kidlings and Gothlings and creatures of all other ages and sorts…I do. At least, for the time being.
Presently I am ten books ahead of the one, so that in September, when I break out my huge textbook of Shakespeare plays and considerably slow down my reading pace, I will still be sufficiently ahead of myself where things to post are concerned.
Mostly I do this because I have neglected some of the books in my possession and should read them again, but I also do it because I want you to get interested in something and read it…
And I guess that makes me wonder:
what have you all been reading lately?
…in the mean time, there’s this.
The Black Stallion
By Walter Farley
Alec Ramsey is just a kid from the New York suburbs when his parents send him away for the summer to help his Uncle Ralph out with his missionary work in India. While there, Alec’s uncle teaches him all about horses and how to be a good rider. Alec has always loved horses, and he’ll miss the daily rides through the jungle when he leaves India. Little does Alec know that his equine adventures haven’t even begun.
The Drake, Alec’s ship home, stops at a small port in Arabia. There they pick up a single horse—a black stallion, unbroken and wild from living in the deserts. The big black horse is everything Alec has ever imagined a horse should be, but when the Drake is shipwrecked and Alec finds himself stranded alone with the stallion, will he find himself in danger from this untamable horse?
I hope this doesn’t make me a terrible person…but I loved horses when I was a kid, and part of it was because I read horse books all the time. My aunt and uncle gave me a few of the Black Stallion books when I was pretty young, and I loved reading them. The same aunt and uncle took me to horseback riding lessons for maybe 2 years or something…so while I’m not spectacular with horses, at least I had those experiences to go off of when I was reading.
My childhood and horses aside, this is still an okay book. I never bothered to read the bio for Walter Farley, but I did this last time I read it and I was kind of impressed to find out that he started writing The Black Stallion when he was in high school and had it published when he was an undergraduate. The writing isn’t the best in the world (he uses a LOT of exclamation points!), but it’s pretty good considering how old he was when he wrote it.
I confess that some of the situations in the book are probably pretty unrealistic, but that’s what makes fiction so palatable sometimes, so I don’t think I’ll count it as a fault in Farley’s books.
On the other hand, one thing that irritated me a little bit is that the characters are so one-dimensional. Even Alec, the main character, doesn’t have very complex thoughts or qualities, and that made the reading a little dull at times.
Lastly, I guess…even in The Black Stallion there are things that might offend people.
Mostly I think that Farley’s portrayal of Tony, the Italian immigrant that sells fruits and veggies from a horse drawn cart that would look like it was stereotyping Italian immigrants…but I don’t know how big a deal that is going to be for most young readers or even most readers today, considering I don’t think we have quite the number of Italian immigrants now that we might’ve had during the 30’s or 40’s when Farley was young.
Overall I think this is an okay book. Definitely better for younger readers because of the less complex storytelling, but still kind of fun for adults or older kids who love horses and think it’s fun to imagine what it would be like to befriend a semi-wild animal.