To make ends meet, the Winstons board the pampered horses of rich neighbors, and for the first time Alice confronts the power and security that class and wealth provide. As her family and their well-being become intertwined with the lives of their clients, Alice is drawn into an adult world of secrets and hard truths, and she soon discovers that people (including herself) can be cruel, can lie and cheat, and, every once in a while, can do something heartbreaking and selfless. Ultimately, Alice and her family must weather a devastating betrayal and a shocking, violent series of events that will test their love and prove the power of forgiveness.
A wise and astonishing novel about the different guises of love and the often steep tolls found on the road to adulthood, The God of Animals is a haunting, unforgettable debut.
©2007 Aryn Kyle. All rights reserved; (P)2007 Simon and Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.
"[A] confident debut novel." (Publishers Weekly)
"A very impressive debut. Kyle's prose is graceful and mature, and her themes are subtly stitched into the story....A powerful tale, from a writer with real promise." (Booklist)
This is a beautiful novel. I was struck by how perfectly the writer conveyed a moment or a feeling with a few stark words, and there is an honest and organic feeling to the story so that the reader can't predict where it will go. Between listening, I could not wait to get back to it, and when it was finished I spent a good, long time thinking about it.
Short summary: The cruel and frequent animal abuse overshadows the story. It cannot be denied that Aryn Kyle is a talented newcomer. This book reads like a true memoir. In addition, the narrator is very talented and helped "set the tone" of the book. I was ever aware of how painfully real some of the familial interactions were when compared to my own life and the lives of others I've been privy to. That being said, and proper respect having been given to both the author and narrator, I wish I had more carefully read all of the other reviews. I was extremely overwhelmed by the prevalent, disturbing, and graphic theme of animal abuse present throughout the entire book. The abuse was not exclusive to just horses; dogs and cats were included as well. There were two scenarios: Either the animal abuse was literally an "in your face" part of the current section or it was there, patiently and silently simmering underneath as an understood just biding its time until stating it out loud was relevant to the section/part at hand. I was not able to enjoy the story for fear of when or how the next situation of animal abuse was going to leap out at me around the next corner. So consider this a blatant warning: If you are sensitive to any type of animal mistreatment (abuse, neglect, negative conditioning, etc.) do NOT listen to this book. You will regret it. The emotional pain and graphic images you will not be able to shake off for weeks to come is not worth the story itself which again, is a shame since this is a talented writer.
Although the novel is extremely well-written and artfully narrated, I can't agree with the reviewer who said it was great for horse-lovers. On the contrary, I'm sure any true horse-lover will be deeply upset by recurring abuse which runs as a leit-motif throughout the novel. What's worse, the images are conveyed in such a way that it's nearly impossible to get them out of your head again. The novel left me with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach which returns every time I think of it. I would recommend this book only for people who can remain emotionally aloof about things that happen in a work of fiction.
I loved this book. As a horse lover, I was surprised at how much horses played a part in the book, and I was very pleased with the accuracy of the "horse information". Beyond that, I loved the main character and her narrator, and the story was thought provoking. Highly recommended.
I wish I hadn't listened to this book. Although the story was fairly well written, it gets progressively more depressing and it seems that the main character only becomes more detached as she grows. There is one part in particular when I turned off the machine and fast forwarded and still heard enough to be left with horrible disturbing images. It's been several weeks and it still bothers me. So if you have trouble listening to a long detailed description of animal abuse, pass this one by.
This is one of the best books I have ever read. Aryn Kyle's discription of the confussion of a young girl of 12 and 14 growing up in a very disfunctional family fit my own so closly it was scary. I lived a lot of my childhood all over again through this book. It did help me sort out some things that I had carried over from childhood. I would recommend this book to anyone including teens and adults alike.
the title of this book does not acurately describe anything in the plot. its about a 12 yr old kid who has a bunch of problems - which are uninteresting, the whole book you wait for something to happen, and it doesn't. when it's over you basically say to yourself... "no... really???" the narrator is good, but the story sucks. it does have horses in it but it does not really tell anything note worthy about them, no facts, details that one could find interesting. also the author has a wordy style, which is ok in the beginning, but it gets old fast and turns into a waste of time, especially when you're listening to it because its not like you could just read over them really fast and ignor them.
Although I often thought that this story was going nowhere, it is beautifully written and read. An enjoyable listening experience as long as you don't NEED drama.
I am a farrier and audiobooks really help time go by working alone. Audible makes it so much easier than using CD's!
As a lifelong horsewoman, raised in a dysfunctional family with very little money, I could understand all that came out in this story.
There were even points, things that I thought of later that weren't waved in the face of the listener. I could see everything, like watching a film as I listened. The description of the girls showing horses was something to behold!
Ah, if I could find something I liked so well everyday!
This book was frustrating. The characters were universally negative, shallow and generally uninteresting. The plot was dark with too many issues resolved by tragedy or violence....as if the author had too many plots and lost her way.
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