4 out of 4 stars
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At first, the title Smart Ass did not attract me to read the book, but after a second look at the cover, it was a picture of a white donkey. I changed my mind and thought that Margaret Winslow might just be funny in describing a real “smart ass” and not a person.
I was not disappointed with the story of Caleb, a large white donkey that the author, Winslow, bought when she was 50 years old. The story tells of Winslow’s long three-year battle of trying to get Caleb trained to be able to control and ride him. The struggles she went through with Caleb reflected some of her own struggles from being a geology professor at an urban university and of her own personality.
Some of the “donkey whisperers” and horse trainers were vividly described, as I could visualize them, hear their conversations, and was aware of their personalities. The frustrations of Winslow were very believable. She wanted a pet to share all her thoughts with, but she was not even able to ride Caleb safely.
Caleb’s personality, behavior, and natural instincts, as a donkey, were all very realistic, educational, and funny. The author wrote in such a way as to make me feel sympathy, fear, and friendship with a donkey, as Caleb went through some dangerous and unfriendly situations.
I enjoyed the humor of training a donkey and of the tidbits of information about donkeys I picked up along the way when reading this book. I chuckled and laughed throughout the book and thought it was light-hearted. Yet, there were some deeper meanings that I got out of Caleb and Winslow’s relationship.
I liked the parts of the book when Caleb entered some contests. It made me think, “That is crazy!” Another funny episode had something to do with a bicycle. I especially liked how the author finally came to an understanding of herself and of Caleb. You will need to read the book to find out how that was accomplished.
I rate Smart Ass by Margaret Winslow 4 out of 4 stars. The book was entertaining and thought-provoking to compare a donkey’s behavior and nature to that of the author and of humans in general. The book was edited extremely well, as I did not notice any errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation. There wasn’t anything that I did not like about the book.
People interested in donkeys and want to read something light-hearted and humorous would find this account of Caleb from the author’s perspective to be worth reading. If you are an animal lover, you may need to consider having a donkey … or not!
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