My Friend Flicka-by Mary O’ Hara

So as I said in an earlier post, I acquired this book along with the sequel, Thunderhead, from my granny, Frances Grimes, many years ago. I loved them as child and decided to read them again during the Covid lockdown last year. They rekindled my love of horse stories, so I became more serious about writing my own. I’m currently plugging away at The Red Filly, one chapter at a time. I actually created a rough outline/beat sheet, so I do know where I’m going with it at least. I joined an awesome writing group during all this Covid mess and they are helping me with edits along the way. This pandemic has been rough on all of us, but I’ve managed to achieve a few positives after I figured out how to restructure my life. I often wonder, if I am forever changed by the last year and a half…but I digress…on to the review!

This is a story of true love between a boy and horse. It’s the kind of bond a young horse loving, apartment dwelling girl like I was growing up, dreamed of. The main character, Ken McLaughlin, unlike me and probably a great many of the kids who have read this book over the years, is growing up on a ranch in Wyoming in the late 1930s surrounded by horses. But, he longs for one of them to be his very own. He’s a day dreamer and because of this causes many mishaps around the ranch and can’t focus on his school work, so his father doesn’t want to reward him with a yearling to raise as his own like his older brother has done.

Mom comes to the rescue though, as she often does in this book and the sequel, Thunderhead. She insists that Ken needs a yearling to raise to help him focus. After a horrific incident during the gelding of the yearling colts, Ken decides he doesn’t want the gruesome procedure carried out on his yearling. He decides he wants a filly to avoid the barbaric practice. But in his father’s eyes he picks the worst filly on the ranch. She’s been running wild with her dam her entire short life and won’t allow anyone near her.

I don’t want to give away the whole story, but you get the idea. Ken is determined, his dad is not happy with him as usual, his mom loves him unconditionally and supports his decision, while a wild filly awaits…

My copy of the book has had a rough life, but it’s managed to survive countless moves over the years.

Green Grass of Wyoming

I finished reading the My Friend Flicka trilogy, which includes; My Friend Flicka, Thunderhead and Green Grass of Wyoming. I had read them years ago when I was in high school, but didn’t realize at the time how “Steinbeckian” they were. I guess I skipped over the literary bits and went straight to the horse bits. I also didn’t realize how harsh some of the training methods were with the horses because I didn’t know much about proper horse training at the time. Plus, it was the late seventies/early eighties and back then “cowboy training” was the norm.

I inherited the first two books from my Granny and they were 1940s era editions, so I splurged and bought a first edition copy of Green Grass of Wyoming from Amazon.

These are well written books and I highly recommend them. Like I said, I didn’t remember how literary they were. I plan on writing individual reviews for each one soon, I just have a lot on my plate right now, as many of us do in these uncertain times.

Stay well everyone and get Covid vaccinated if you can!

Fortitude

Thunderhead, Copyright 1943, Mary O’ Hara

I’m currently reading the 1943 edition of Thunderhead, by Mary O’Hara, which originally belonged to my Granny, Frances Grimes, who passed away in 2014. What’s weird though, is even though she knew how much I love horses, she never mentioned her love for them. She also owned, My Friend Flicka, the first book in this three horse book series. I just finished reading that one and will soon post a review. It had been so long since I had read these books that I forgot the herd stallion, Banner, was half Arabian. And even the wild stallion that they call the Albino is said to have some Arabian blood. It’s amazing to me how Arabians seem to show up everywhere in the horse world, in one way or another!

I titled this entry, Fortitude, because of a passage in this book where, Rob McLaughlin, is talking to his son, Ken, about the boy needing to learn how to handle disappointment in life and he references a quote from a book called, Fortitude: “It’s not life that matters-it’s the courage you bring to it.”.

Even though I’m not a big fan of the character, Rob McLaughlin, because he’s often stubborn and overbearing, I was struck by that passage. It is very difficult to react well when things are going wrong.

I’m currently quarantined because I was in close contact with someone who is now struck down by Covid-19. I’m on the fourth day of said quarantine, and the first three days were not handled well by me at all. The first day was the worst, because I allowed my anxiety to take control of me the whole day, and that night I couldn’t sleep because my heart wouldn’t stop racing. I’ve wasted three days of prime writing time just waiting to get sick. I kind of snapped out of it a little yesterday; did a few household chores and worked out, but no writing…

Well now I’m writing this, so I guess that’s something, even though I’m reaching the end of the fourth day. To quote Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Tomorrow I’ll be back at work on The Red Filly!