3 out of 4 stars
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Horses with Many Names: How a Horse-Crazy Girl Grows Up Riding Many Horses on a Small Illinois Farm but Finds the Horse of Her Dreams on a 7000-acre Florida Ranch by Cynthia Putnam Jones is a nonfiction book recounting the authors’ experiences growing up with horses.
Horses with Many Names is a beautiful chronicle of the author’s childhood and adolescent years, told mainly through her interactions with horses. Cynthia, who refers to herself as Cindy in the book, and her sister Sheri spend weekends at their grandparents’ farm. Pap-pap and Mam-mam have an excellent relationship with their grandchildren. Pap-pap is a farmer and horse trader who takes Cindy under his wing, fueling her passion for horses. Mam-mam spends time walking with the girls, talking about the essential things in life, and catching snakes on the farm.
Soon, Cindy desires a horse of her own. Enlisting Pap-pap’s help, she becomes the proud owner of her first horse, Brownie. Brownie is the first of many horses in Cindy’s life. Cindy discovers that owning horses isn’t just about horsemanship, there are life lessons to learn from horses, and each horse along the way allows her to grow and learn. Will Cindy be able to pursue her passion for many, many horses? What lessons will Cindy learn on her quest to find the horse of her dreams?
Horses with Many Names, while nonfiction, reads like a fiction book. The author’s descriptive storytelling is a pleasant alternative to the writing style typically seen in works of nonfiction. This aspect of the book allowed for a more engaging reading experience. The bond between Cindy, Sheri, and their grandparents, Pap-pap, and Mam-mam, is charming. As the story unfolds, this bond evolves. It was a joy to see this evolution as Pap-pap and Mam-mam imparted their knowledge to their grandchildren throughout the book.
What I enjoyed most about reading this book were the parallels between my personal experiences with horses and those of Cindy and Sheri. Through the authors’ story, I began to reminisce about the memories of the many, many horses in my life. These parallels allowed me to connect with the characters and storyline on an emotional level.
I struggled with finding something I didn’t like about this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I must point out that there are errors in the book. These errors are minor. Furthermore, these errors did not detract from my ability to enjoy this book and were not a distraction while reading. Due to the number of mistakes, they negatively impacted my rating.
Horses with Many Names is a wholesome book that would please readers of many ages. There are no instances of graphic or adult content. I noted two cases of implied profanity in which symbols were utilized instead of profane language. Parents of younger readers may wish to use their discretion in this regard.
I would highly recommend this book to those who are interested in horses, have grown up with horses, or are currently growing up with horses. Horse-crazy individuals will be fascinated with Cynthia’s horse stories. Also, those with a general admiration of animals would find themselves delighted with this book. While I believe this book would be enjoyable for just about anyone to read, this is genuinely a book geared towards those who love horses. For this reason, those who are not interested in horses may not find this book appealing.
Horses with Many Names: How a Horse-Crazy Girl Grows Up Riding Many Horses on a Small Illinois Farm but Finds the Horse of Her Dreams on a 7000-acre Florida Ranch is an enjoyable, entertaining read. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I applaud the author for sharing her coming of age story, displaying the incredible bond between horses and humans, in such a candid manner. I would not hesitate to award the fourth star after professional editing.
Horses with Many Names
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