Monday, September 7, 2009

Riding Lessons, by Sara Gruen

Riding Lessons was Sara Gruen's debut novel. I'd never heard of it, but like most readers, had definitely heard of her later book, Water for Elephants (which I loved!)
Riding Lessons is an entertaining story about a former world-class equestrian, told from her point of view twenty years after her glory days. I seem to be on a horse kick lately, as I recently reviewed Deborah Vogt's Snow Melts in Spring, which also concerned horses.
Gruen's book takes a different approach, in that it's almost a love story between Annemarie Zimmer and the horse that took her to championship status. The novel opens with a brief flashback to Annemarie's youth, then drops the reader smack in the middle of her current life with one of the best introductory chapters I’ve ever read. By the time I reached Chapter Three I was glued to the pages with horrified fascination, the way you'd watch a train wreck.
Gruen did an amazing job of writing throughout the book, although at times I felt Annemarie’s behavior was a little over the top. I'd recommend Riding Lessons, with the caveat that if you loved Water for Elephants, you probably won’t like this one as much. But for a story about a woman and horses, it’s one of the most interesting novels you’ll ever read.


Post a Comment