Thursday, October 23, 2008

Black Beauty (book review)

Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell, is an interesting book. It is a horse story told from the horse's point of view. Black Beauty, as he is called, grows up being sold constantly. Sometimes he belongs to masters who actually care about him, and sometimes he does not. He spends his days as a young horse at a fancy place called Birtwick park, where he makes friends (both human and horse) and is extremely well cared for. Beauty's time at Birtwick park makes up almost half of the book.

After Birtwick, Beauty has other masters, including an Earl who doesn't really care about him, and a kind and gentle cab driver. There are ohters who aren't even really worth mentioning because Beauty only finds himself in their care for about one chapter each (and the chapters are short). But eventually, Beauty finds himself sold to a kindly old man and his son on a farm where Beauty discovers an old friend from Birtwick. He lives out the rest of his days well-loved and well cared for. After all the rest of the strain he lived through, it is a happy ending.

This book was good. Sewell had a very clear message, and she pounds it into the readers' heads: don't maltreat horses! I believe that this is a very good message, and that it is wrong to mistreat animals, but Sewell might have made her argument slightly more subtle. It seemed to me as if every two chapters there was a maltreated horse found on the streets by Beauty and his master, and it seemed to get a little repetitive after a while. However, I still enjoyed the book a lot, and I thought it was a great horse story.

I would give this book a 3 out of 5.