Saturday, January 11, 2014

Review: Horse Sense by Lapo Melzi

Horse SenseOctober 2013, 242 pages. My Rating: ***--3 Stars

Blurb: Horse Sense talks about some tough issues. There’s nothing easy about being an eleven year old boy, especially for Jamie. As he takes the unsteady steps into adolescence, his days of knowing who his friends are and trusting the adults in his life are numbered. The only thing Jamie can really count on in this changing world is the love of his best friend, a horse named Acorn. Jamie and Acorn’s friendship has a magic that comes once in a lifetime—but the bullies around them want to rip that to shreds. Can their kindred connection survive as Jamie strives to carve out his identity?

My Review: I've always loved horses. I think they're beautiful creatures, but I never realized how much personality they have. My youngest would love to have a horse of her own and I loved seeing the bond that this boy and his horse had with each other. Animals can be so loyal and fill the role of a best friend so easily.

I felt that there were two main themes to the story: bullying and that animal/boy bond. It's sad, but true--so many people are, or feel they are, bullied. It's a real issue and I was glad to see it addressed in this book. 

Jamie is a 5th grade boy (11 years old). That's what pulled me to the story--I have a 5th grade son, who is almost 11. That being said, there were times when Jamie acted (and spoke) more like an adult than a 5th grader and other times when he was just an average 11 year old. I missed the consistency of the character. Maddie, Jamie's mom, was the same way. She was very vocal and in-your-face when she found out her son was being bullied, but she wasn't able to stand up to her husband at all--not for herself or for Jamie.

I have no idea how things really are, but I found it shocking that NO ONE would believe Jamie about the bullying. He was punished when the other kids ganged up on him; the teacher, principal, students, and other parents were completely absent when things came to light. WHO protects these kids?! And how could the classroom situation have gone on for two years without anyone saying anything?! That's just heartbreaking!

I liked the persistence that Jamie showed in winning Acorn over and the ending was a good wrap.

Content: some swearing; bullying; some behavior that is best not tried at home. :)

About the Author:  
Lapo MelziLapo Melzi is a poet, writer and filmmaker. He grew up in a little town in the north of Italy and went on to study writing and filmmaking in New York. He received his MFA from renowned NYU Tisch School of the Arts and now spends his time between the United States and Italy.

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