Elizabeth Letts, author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion, knows a good story when she sees one. The heart of the story is the Cinderella tale of an unexpected plow-horse, Snowman, rising to the pinnacle of success in the elite and exclusive world of competitive horse jumping; it is impossible to resist this tale of an underdog. The frosting to this narrative is the owner of the horse, Harry de Leyer, who in many ways was a reflection of his horse. His devotion to the well-being of the horse super ceded material concerns and was re-affirming.
The first part of the book isn’t a strictly chronological retelling, but is sprinkled with anecdotal experiences from Harry de Leyer’s life prior to his acquisition of this horse. The later part of the book settles into a straight chronological account and that felt more natural. Letts one stylistic flaw was a tendency to repeat information or sentiments, which was unnecessary.
Lett does her job as a non-fiction writer by orienting the reader to the sport and to the relevance of the story within the larger perspective of cultural events and history. And like a horse running for home, she ties up the later pages of the book beautifully and poignantly. A charming horse, a charming story, and a story worth being re-told.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Ballantine Books
Violence/Gore: An animal is injured in a show and must be euthanized; animal euthanized; general reference to injuries in the world of competitive jumping; a person has an accident and is critically injured; general references to events in WW II (explosions, fires, death of soldiers).
Mature Subject Matter:
Alcohol / Drug Use:
General/incidental references to smoking.