A Whole Pile of Literary Stuff

Some time ago – a good while before Christmas, I think – Rodney’s Saga did a book giveaway.  Guess who was the lucky winner?

Yup, yours truly.  So, a short while later, I was delighted to receive Ellen Broadhurst’s ‘The Chronicles of the 700 Dollar Pony’ in the post.  I’m a sucker for receiving parcels!

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I finally finished reading it this week.  It took me a long time, NOT because it’s boring or unpleasant to read (it’s not), but because my plans for January were blown apart by the death of my mother-in-law.  I brought a book of short stories by Frank O’ Connor to Ireland with me at the time – short stories are easier to dip in and out of when you’re likely to be called away at any time.

So what did I think of ‘The Chronicles of the 700 Dollar Pony’?

Official Reviewer’s hat on (although I wasn’t asked to review it but hey, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want here) :

The Chronicles of the 700 Dollar Pony tells the true story of a woman who buys an equine to compete in Eventing.  Unfortunately, her budget was pretty tight, so she buys the first cheap horse she finds, without seeing it do anything other than whizz around at the end of a lunge line.  But it is not too badly put together and it has a pretty tail!  Sounds like a recipe for disaster?  Well, the author is, quite simply, not a person to do things in a logical manner.  She can plan to do things logically, but her implementation skills let her down every time, making for some very funny reading.  Or else she was blogging at the time and kept thinking, “Well I could do it the sensible way or I can do it the silly way and get a good blog post out of it!”  Reason prevails in the end; she and The Pony go to Boot Camp and she finally enters The Pony in her very first One Day Event in the closing pages of the book…

How does she do?  You’ll have to read the book to find out!

The author, Ellen Broadhurst, has a very readable style of writing and the story flows nicely.  She is a very real, normal person with very real, normal pony, who gets herself into some silly, yet utterly believable situations.  I found myself nodding and thinking, “Yeah, been there, done that” or “Hah, that’s the sort of thing I would do!” plenty of times!  As to her problems with implementing sensible, logical plans – she may have been suffering from MummyBrain, as she had two smallies (aka the 48 orphan puppy equivalents) at the time.  And hey, it makes for good reading.

I do, however, have two minor gripes.

As a horse person, the author’s need to explain horsey stuff throughout irritated me.  Surely one can assume that this book will be bought mostly by horsey people?  I found that the explanations interrupted the flow of the story from time to time, as the author changes from raconteur mode to teaching mode.  A non-horsey person can always look up equine terms and conventions if they are interested enough, can’t they?

The other, much more trivial gripe, is the occasional use of the French word merde.  That grated on me mostly because all of the French people I’ve met rarely curse (they are a very polite nation) and, if they feel the need to let out an expletive, the ones I know say mince instead of merde.  What I’m trying to say is, if you don’t want to use the word shit for fear of offending your readers, then just say crap instead.  Or abbreviate it – s*** works for me.  Don’t go using a foreign word for shit in the hopes that any readers who might be offended by shit or crap will be too dumb to understand what you’re saying.

Would I recommend this book?  Without hesitation, to a horse lover; and with a caveat to the rest of the world – it is a horse book.  Don’t expect it to be anything else.

“The Chronicles of the 700 Dollar Pony” was published in 2006 and the sequel, ‘The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony’ is available on Amazon now.

Rodney’s Saga (I think Rodney’s Mom must be bestest friends with Ellen Broadhurst) had a giveaway with this book too, and GUESS WHAT?  I won again!  (To be truthful, everyone who entered received a version of the e-book. I’m not that special.)

If you want to get your own copy, you will find it and the original Chronicles on Ellen Broadhurst’s Amazon page.

I will get around to reading The Further Adventures in a week or two (Depending on how long it takes my f***ed-up back to sort itself out.  Yes.  I am pretty crippled right now.  There could be a lot of reading done over the next week or two) but before I get to it, I’ve been asked OFFICIALLY to review a book, so I am reading that one first.

Watch out for that review in the next week or so.

Also, remember I said I was writing short stories, back when I posted ‘The Christmas Pony’ in December?  I have six just about ready for publication – I’m sorting out cover images and copyright notices at the moment.  I’ll be having a giveaway or two here soon, because I’d really love to have a couple of reviews up on Kindle ShortReads as soon as the stories go live.

So there’s plenty to look forward to over the next while, even if I can’t do anything with Flurry and Aero right now.



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