A story about a pretty, pretty precious pony? Hurray! This is going to be giggly joyous laughy-good pony time!...What? It's written by John Steinbeck? Fuck. Sorry, pony, either you and/or everyone you love is going to end up dead.
Yes, these are tales of living on a ranch in the early days (well, early-ish) of California. But underneath, they are more of the same Steinbeck: the vignettes of the hardscrabble life of immigrant farmers.
Specifically it's 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants, such as seen in Tortilla Flat
. The people are established. This is their land. It feels as if it's always been theirs, but there were others before them...ghosts now. The Red Pony
follows a boy, Jody, who is coming of age and given the responsibility of raising his own horse. Steinbeck captures well the emotions and perspective of a child feeling his way in a world that is changing for him, new understandings that come at young folks daily like minor revelations. Will he cope?
Thought I'd give this a read, what with my interest in animals being piqued by Goodreads' recent ads for All Creatures Great and Small
. The Red Pony
reads like a collection of related short stories. It definitely doesn't feel like a complete novel with a plot, climax and satisfying finish. There's just theme, like viewing a photo album. That can be enjoyable too, after all, every picture tells a story, don't it?