Skip to main content
PBS logo
Want fewer ads?

Book Review of Horse

Author: Geraldine Brooks
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Hardcover
sixteendays avatar reviewed on + 130 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2

I don't like horses. I grew up with them, and had a connection with one once, but in general they are not the animals for me. I do, however, love Geraldine Brooks, so despite my disinterest in the subject here, I wanted to give this a read.

Interestingly enough, the horse in question, Lexington, along with his groomer/trainer/best friend Jarrett, has the best story in this novel. Their connection with each other, on an emotional and spiritual level, is palpable.

Unfortunately, there is a lot more than their story shoehorned in to the novel. Brooks takes on the history of American horseracing and breeding, art history, race relations, the Civil War, professional workplace sexism, modern police brutality, and more, and it's just too many plates to hold up in one story without all of them suffering.

Though Jarrett was by far my favorite character in this novel, I do not believe that his story, or the story of Theo the art historian grad student, was Brooks's stories to tell. Framing what happens to Theo through the view of his white girlfriend was tone-deaf at best. Divorced from the other topics covered in the novel, and in the hands of a different author, I think both of their stories would have been much more powerful and honest.

Want fewer ads?