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Posted January 29, 2012
One of my recent reads was "Bird by Bird," by Anne Lamott. One of Lamott’s recurring themes is that an author has to tell “the truth.” This may seem strange when fiction, by definition, is a pack of lies; something the author has made up. What Lamott means is that everything about a character’s actions and words has to ring true with the reader. "When Horses Had Wings" rings true. While Renee makes choices and takes actions that are sometimes obviously the wrong thing to do, they are always true to the character at that point in her life.
Although "When Horses Have Wings" addresses some serious topics (teen pregnancy and spousal abuse among them), it does so in a way that manages not to turn into a downer, while staying true to the story. I found Estill’s writing style evocative and engaging, often reading a sentence or phrase and thinking she’d found the perfect way of expressing her thoughts. An excellent read.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
Posted November 28, 2011
Girl and boy have the ¿wrong¿ sort of fumble in his car Girl is pregnant at 16 Girl marries boy Boy is a violent and abusive ¿ mentally and physically Girl tries hard to leave boy with young son¿¿ That¿s just about the gist of this book: a very, very good book, set in the 1970s. I was captivated from the start. Narrated by Renee, the above-mentioned hapless young girl, an air of melancholy exudes her story. Never, however, do you feel pathetically sorry for her. There is always an element of admiration for the way she accepts her lot ¿ at first ¿ but then gathers courage and determination to change her life and rid herself of her manacles. There are obstacles aplenty in the shape of a slightly less than supportive family, her own self-deprecation inflated by the constant verbal and physical abuse and putdowns from Kenny her husband - the garbage-collecting piece of¿.well, garbage actually, his self-righteous, my-son-is-unworthy-of-you mother and Renee¿s overriding fear of Kenny¿s violent temper. If ever there was dynamic character development, Renee¿s takes the crown. From a demoralised, down-trodden, unconfident teenage mother, she desperately searches for acceptance, love, education and independence, not just for her own sanity, self-preservation and better future but for her son too. Knockbacks are more than just a few but even the most destructive bulldozer of knockbacks can¿t render her senseless ¿ just ever more patient and determined. I couldn¿t get enough of Renee ¿ her spunk, grit and resolution grab your soul and though Kenny is one of those characters you want to yank from the pages and slap, the author ¿ this very talented author - manages to make you hold your hand back when you realise this misguided, sadly ignorant young man acted in the only way he knew how. Superbly written, the characters are colourful, comical and more importantly, believable, and the wonderful rural Texas dialect that peppers the dialogue is powerfully enriching. Terrific. I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to review it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 25, 2011
I can tell when a book is good because the world around me disappears and I have no clue what is going on while I am reading. This was one of those books. Once I started reading it, I didn't want to put it down. There were so many emotions I encountered while I read, especially anger at Kenny. I wanted to strangle him! I grew to adore the main character and the narrator, Renee. Renee marries young when she finds she is pregnant and has to deal with a less-than-perfect life. The message is a good one - be sure to read to the very end! It's worth it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 14, 2011
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