Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sad and Lonely, But That's Not All

The God of Animals
by Aryn Kyle

People who like and work with horses will like this book, but the horses are not the whole story. The main story is the people who earn their livelihood from the horses. It is amazing how many books there are out there, both fiction and non-fiction, about dysfunctional families full of sorrowful and isolated people. Often, you find bitterness and various levels of insanity thrown in as well. It is not so easy to find "happily ever after" books, probably because life rarely turns out that way. Lots of times, though, you find books that are not happily ever after but "We endured it, we did all right, we grew, and there were moments of beauty and grace." I am staggered by how many times I can read variations on this theme. As long as someone writes it and writes it well, I will keep reading them. Over and over again, I find myself drawn into these types of narratives, and when they are well done the characters become as real as people we meet in life all the time.

Kyle's book is a bittersweet rendering of this theme. I do not want to give away too much about the characters, because there are several who could fill a post by themselves. I will just say that it is painful to witness Joe's flagging optimism and his misdirected anger at his daughter Alice, Nona's bitter resignation, and Marian's withdrawn despair. The adolescent Alice, who is just crying out to be noticed and appreciated, is also a poignant character. The book's title comes from Alice wondering if there is a God, and if so, does God watch after animals. "It just seems as if there should be someone looking out for them," she says wistfully. It is painfully clear that she needs and wants someone to be looking out for her too. Isn't that what we all want - to know that we do not face life's hardships and disappointments and disasters alone?

Kyle also does a subtle and effective job of showing the distinctions between economic and social classes in the United States. The wealthy women whom Alice calls "The Catfish," who board their horses at her father's barn, have no idea how other people live or what their struggles are. They assume that everyone within their sphere lives at their level of affluence and has all the options that they have. Their sly jabs at people who do not have their money and privilege really ring true. You want to shake them for being so clueless.

By the end of the story, though, we come to see that not everyone is as they seem. One of the catfish provides Alice with the possibility of a better future. Another character who at first is a spoiled little rich girl matures into an insightful and gracious young person. The privileged women have problems of their own, and everyone is trying to muddle through the best that they can.

It's seldom a bed of roses, but it's not all bad either. In fact, there is more to be grateful for than not. Kind of like life.

Reverent Reader


At 2/20/08, 8:19 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was one of my favorite books I read in 07. I really liked Alice and what she had to say...definitely an "old soul." And I found lots of the horsy stuff very interesting...not something I know a lot about, obviously.


At 2/20/08, 9:40 PM , Blogger Reverent Reader said...

E - I agree, Alice is a great character. I thought the whole story was very moving.

At 5/10/16, 10:21 PM , Blogger ninest123 said...

air jordan pas cher, michael kors, oakley sunglasses, ugg boots, longchamp outlet, louboutin pas cher, longchamp pas cher, air max, ray ban sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet, nike roshe run, sac longchamp, burberry, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, nike air max, nike free, polo ralph lauren outlet, tory burch outlet, nike outlet, chanel handbags, ray ban sunglasses, replica watches, louboutin, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, christian louboutin outlet, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, louboutin shoes, nike free, tiffany and co, prada handbags, uggs on sale, longchamp, longchamp outlet, prada outlet, tiffany jewelry, ugg boots, polo ralph lauren outlet, oakley sunglasses, gucci outlet, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton, louboutin outlet, ralph lauren pas cher, kate spade outlet, jordan shoes

At 5/10/16, 10:29 PM , Blogger ninest123 said...

michael kors outlet, michael kors, burberry outlet online, abercrombie and fitch, replica handbags, tn pas cher, michael kors outlet, michael kors, oakley pas cher, lacoste pas cher, new balance pas cher, kate spade handbags, nike free run uk, hogan, sac guess, coach outlet, nike air max, ralph lauren uk, michael kors, hermes, true religion jeans, coach purses, nike roshe, ugg boots, nike air max, vans pas cher, michael kors outlet, lululemon, nike air max, true religion jeans, north face, coach outlet, north face, vanessa bruno, true religion outlet, ray ban uk, air force, michael kors, mulberry, nike blazer, burberry, timberland, hollister, ray ban pas cher, true religion jeans, hollister pas cher, converse pas cher, michael kors outlet, ugg boots, michael kors outlet

At 5/10/16, 10:39 PM , Blogger ninest123 said...

north face outlet, nike air max, hollister, oakley, p90x workout, longchamp, ghd, hollister, north face outlet, asics running shoes, louboutin, nike huarache, converse, baseball bats, celine handbags, new balance, vans, vans shoes, ferragamo shoes, iphone cases, soccer jerseys, herve leger, reebok shoes, insanity workout, nike air max, nfl jerseys, lululemon, mcm handbags, converse outlet, hollister, gucci, timberland boots, birkin bag, valentino shoes, babyliss, ralph lauren, ray ban, nike roshe, wedding dresses, jimmy choo shoes, instyler, bottega veneta, beats by dre, chi flat iron, giuseppe zanotti, nike trainers, soccer shoes, mac cosmetics, mont blanc, abercrombie and fitch

At 5/10/16, 10:51 PM , Blogger ninest123 said...

pandora jewelry, wedding dresses, supra shoes, hollister, canada goose outlet, moncler, moncler outlet, canada goose, moncler, montre pas cher, swarovski, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton, moncler, pandora charms, moncler, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, doudoune canada goose, pandora jewelry, canada goose, canada goose, louis vuitton, replica watches, karen millen, ugg boots uk, canada goose, ugg pas cher, louis vuitton, coach outlet, thomas sabo, barbour, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, marc jacobs, links of london, moncler, louis vuitton, bottes ugg, barbour jackets, sac louis vuitton pas cher, moncler, pandora charms, swarovski crystal, canada goose uk, moncler, juicy couture outlet, juicy couture outlet


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home