Books read in 2011: 5
First of all, this book got a lot of flack from horse lovers in its reviews on Amazon. And yes, I have to admit that much of the horse "information" was misguided, exaggerated, and possibly even outright incorrect--but it wasn't all completely falsified. A word of caution that if you are an animal lover, parts of this novel will seem graphically inhumane, and they are. But the fact of the matter is that animals in general are often mistreated, and as horses are seen by many as "beasts of burden" they probably have it worse off even than dogs and cats and other pets. People suck and yes, some of the "mean" things that happen to the horses in this novel are things that actually happen to horses in real life.
That said, I have to say that there are portions of this novel that don't flow. While trying to not give spoilers, I have to say that there are connections you wait and wait to learn more about that are never truly revealed. There are people you hope will change or not change, and your hopes are not fulfilled. And yes, it is overall a depressing book. But it's a good read nonetheless. The characters are as complex and hard to read and maddening as people are in real life. Much of the writing is superb. If you go into reading this book with an open mind, you won't be disappointed. 3.5/5 stars.
"As much as the locals doubted the intentions of those who moved, new and fresh, into the valley, they doubted those who left it even more."
"'Real life is a hell of a lot scarier than dreams...People are much more dangers than anything your mind can make up while you're sleeping.'
"'Like people you can't trust?'
"'Yes,' he answered, and his voice was quieter. 'They're the most dangerous.'
"'How can you tell who they are?' I asked.
"'That's easy,'he said, inhaling slowly from his cigarette. 'They're the people who are the hardest to stay away from.'"
"'You can't blame yourself,' Patty said quietly. 'No one can be entirely responsible for another person's disappointment.'"
"'Business is like a game...Everyone has their own set of rules.'"
"'If you leave something behind because you don't want it, it's gone. But if you lose something, well, it belongs to you forever. Whether you ever see it again or not.'"
"'I figure, even if people are assholes, you can learn something from them,' Mr. Delmar said. 'No one's a complete waste of time.'
"'Is that true?' I asked.
"'I don't know.' He laughed. 'But it can't hurt to think so. It can't hurt to give people the benefit of the doubt.'"
"The world was what it was. There were no secrets. There were only things that went unsaid."
"This is the truth about things: If you take something that isn't yours, it will never belong to you. You can try to hold on to it, but somehow, it will slip through your fingers. If something wasn't meant to be yours, it won't be. No matter what you do to keep it, you will lose it."
"Blame is, in fact, irrelevant, if only because it changes nothing."
"'She never meant to hurt you,' I said...
"'Everyone gets hurt,' he told me. 'Meaning's got nothing to do with it.'"
"Retiring, he told me, was not the same as surrendering. It was not weakness; it was merely acceptance."
"...the places we come from don't leave us as easily as we leave them...[Home] is...a place so unique unto itself that, still, so many years later, [you will] sometimes feel it pulling."
"...it is in these moments that I can remember him clearly...the way that he loved, truly loved, every one of them: each of those broken promises, all those dreams that never came true."