Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Audio Review of The Eighty-Dollar Champion by Elizabeth Letts

Synopsis: "Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a bleak winter afternoon between the slats of a rickety truck bound for the slaughterhouse. He recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up horse and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry’s modest farm on Long Island, the horse thrived. But the recent Dutch immigrant and his growing family needed money, and Harry was always on the lookout for the perfect thoroughbred to train for the show-jumping circuit—so he reluctantly sold Snowman to a farm a few miles down the road.

But Snowman had other ideas about what Harry needed. When he turned up back at Harry’s barn, dragging an old tire and a broken fence board, Harry knew that he had misjudged the horse. And so he set about teaching this shaggy, easygoing horse how to fly. One show at a time, against extraordinary odds and some of the most expensive thoroughbreds alive, the pair climbed to the very top of the sport of show jumping.

Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo, based on the insight and recollections of “the Flying Dutchman” himself. Their story captured the heart of Cold War–era America—a story of unstoppable hope, inconceivable dreams, and the chance to have it all. Elizabeth Letts’s message is simple: Never give up, even when the obstacles seem sky-high. There is something extraordinary in all of us."

My Review: I really fluctuated between really loving this book and not liking it much at all. I loved the parts that were actually about Snowman and Harry, I really grew to care about them and by the end I was searching for old videos of them on youtube. The part I wasn't too fond of were all the very wordy and descriptive histories of EVERYTHING, from the horse population in the US, to the history of sports and the school Harry taught at, it got a little old going off on these tangents. That and it felt like the author thought we were stupid and felt the need to repeat the rules of the horse shows every single time it was mentioned, the same thing every single time, and again the rules the same every single time (annoying isn't it?). Without all this added extra language the book would have been much more enjoyable and shorter, easier to fit into a time frame. I did listen to the audio version and the narrator was absolutely fantastic! I loved his voice and will be searching for more books narrated by him.
My Rating: I have such mixed feelings about this book, if some of the extra language that has nothing to do with Snowman or horses was removed I think it would be a really fantastic book.  I give it a rating of Two Paws.

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