Who Is The Real Character, the Animal or the Human?
In most of the animal stories I have read recently, the animals have to teach the humans how to behave humanly. Three of these great reads are Boleto by Alyson Carol Hagy, Love is the Best Medicine by Dr. Nick Trout and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.
Boleto, by Alyson Carol Hagy, is a modern day western story. I am not much for western type horse stories, but this turned out to be one fantastic book! The author’s penetrating description of the scenery near Jackson Hole, Wyoming makes one want to head west to soak up the scenery Alyson described. The story develops and draws one in through this smooth almost horse whisperer tone one minute and then lasso’s one in to all types of adventures and tight spots.
“Who are you today, Will Testerman?” Will has learned the tough yet exhilarating care of raising horses at their family ranch. During the summer months, he has been in charge of the horses at a local summer riding camp and learns to work with people of all ages and riding abilities. He has also experienced the rich life of the show horse. As he learned the grooming needed for show horses, he also learned there are different ropes in dealing with people with money. Now, Will has been offered a position in California to learn how to care for the competitive polo horses. Is this really a life-time experience he should take?
Will Testerman purchased a filly, a young female horse, with the last of his money from his latest quick jobs and his last escapade show horse job. To his father, this confirms Will’s irresponsible and senseless behavior. Mr. Testerman built their family ranch with grit, hard work and a love for the ranching life. However, Mr. Testerman has to work in town at the local print shop to make ends meet. Will is the last of his three sons whom he might have a chance to take over the family ranch, yet he sees Will as directionless. After a mindless interlude with a young equestrian show girl, Will had to high-tail out of the show horse company in Texas. He arrived home in time to care for his mother, who has just been diagnosed with cancer. He and his mother share an inner carefree way that has created a very close relationship between them. His mother sees the filly as a possible investment.
It has been his mother, an elementary school teacher, who has always encouraged Will into thinking and dreaming of being different from his older brothers. She would ask him each day as they drove into school together, "Who are you today, Will Testerman?" Most days, just to hear her laugh, he would answer that he was some big, historical, worldly, famous person. These are the words that stick with him no matter what part of the west his next job locates him, “Who are you today, Will Testerman?”.
Will has always had a special touch with the horses around the ranch. He has learned from watching others and watching the horses. In his restlessness, he wants to learn more about all the different businesses where horses are the basis for money making investments. He is not afraid of hard work and testing himself into learning the ropes of these trades. Through his family ranch experiences and various jobs caring for horses, he learns about people, money, and ultimately respect and trust from horses. Now he has an opportunity with a competitive polo horse company in California.
It is his filly who shows him what it means to be patiently groomed and trained. He takes her and his steady Appaloosa gelding, Hawk, to California. Will ends up working with trainers who do not trust him or like him and other ranch hands, who speak little English, who end up trusting Will. It is through the filly that Will finds his ticket, or Boleto, to growing up and understanding the workings of money, people and deceit. Like I said before, this was a great story!
Love is the Best Medicine by Dr. Nick Trout is tear jerking story of a couple dogs who teach their owners, doctors and veterinarians about life and the bonds that we form with animals. This is one book to read to appreciate some of the events that veterinarians go through.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen takes place during the depression years and the hardship of those trying to find meaning in their jobs and world around them. Yes, there is an animal, the elephant, in this story that emphasizes the emotions and realization of people’s relationships. This too is another great read!
Have you read a story about an animal that makes one think? Or, What ‘cha Reading?