I’ve decided to post a book review each month for as long as I have interesting reviews to share. This month’s book is The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans. I wrote this review in November of 2014. Warning: This review contains many spoilers. I think it’s ok to share spoilers, because who hasn’t read this book or seen the movie? Are there others blooming later than I did?
Where do I begin with this book?
First of all, I have to say that I really didn’t know much about this book when I started reading it. I somehow managed to miss most of the hype about it during the last century when it was on the bestseller list and then made into a movie. It’s about horses right? And maybe Robert Redford is in the movie? And remember, there was a time before this book when there were no whisperers? No horse whisperers, dog whisperers, or baby whisperers. Well, sure, there were probably folks whispering to horses, dogs, babies, and who knows what else (tree whisperers? pigeon whisperers?), but no one called them whisperers. So, thank you Nicholas Evans for adding a word/concept to the English language.
Secondly, (and rather importantly) I could barely put this book down. I tore through it in about 24 hours. (I did other things in addition to reading this book.) The writing is easily read and the story and characters grabbed me. I really wanted to know what happened next, even closer to the end where the cheese factor increased considerably.
All that said, I found most of this book either predictable or improbable.
Predictable: The author described snow, young teenagers on horseback, and an 18-wheeler, and I knew right away that something terrible was going to happen.
Predictable: Rich, white, cosmopolitan, intellectual married woman from the city goes out West and finds herself, peace of mind and true love. She also reconnects with her daughter.
Predictable: The above mentioned woman finds herself, peace of mind and true love thanks to a handsome, gentle, rugged, smart Western man. (This man is the horse whisperer of the title. It seems he whispers to more than just horses.)
Predictable: The sex with the man from the West is incredible. (A word about sex. There are a few sex scenes in this book. They are fairly hot, but it seems that when Evans wrote this book, he knew no words, neither slang nor medical, for either male of female genitals.)
Predictable: After the man sets everything right for the woman, a baby seals the deal, and the woman basks in the warm, mentally healthy glow of motherhood.
Predictable: The Western man (is he a Jesus figure?) saves the horse too.
Improbable: That not one, but two smart, kind, loving men could fall madly in love and want to be with a controlling, complaining, pushy woman like the main character. Was it just because she was pretty? Of course, the Western man brings out her true kind and loving self . Oh, she was really a wonderful person inside all along. She just needed true love to bring her true nature to the surface. (I guess this one is both improbable and predictable.)
Improbable: That the Western man would kill himself (and death by horse, no less) because he couldn’t be with his true love. I could hardly believe it when it happened. Give me a break. He must totally be Jesus. He sacrifices himself so the woman’s little family can stay intact. I. Don’t. Believe. It.
One thing I really hated about this book is the idea that it puts out there that if one finds one’s “true love,” there is only now, so go ahead and disregard the person you’ve been married to for nearly two decades and just have sex with this person you’ve known for a month. This sex thing after a month, that’s not even love. That’s hormones! I’m not even married. I don’t even believe in marriage. But if a person is in any kind of monogamous relationship, I don’t think it’s OK to just have sex with another person. But this book gave a whole generation permission to just do it! (And I’m not talking about jogging or basketball.)
Bottom line: This book is a romance novel with a questionable moral message. I think the horses were thrown in to trick men into buying the book too.