Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review - War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

I had to read the book before seeing the movie. I couldn't watch War Horse without knowing what was going to happen. Michael Morpurgo definitely put together an incredibly touching story when he decided to put pen to paper (so to speak) for this one.

In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey's courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer's son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?

This story is told from Joey's point of view. It's unbiased and incredibly observant and completely heartwrenching. Joey's sold right out from under Albert's nose by an alcoholic father who is desperate for money. The man who buys him promises Albert he'll take wonderful care of him. And he does, but it doesn't last forever. Joey's story is full of miracle after tragedy after miracle and it's so sad to read. But warms your heart at the same time. Just when you think things couldn't get any worse, they get better. Only to get worse again... only to get better. It's an incredible roller-coaster of a story.

War Horse is a fast read. And I wasn't sure I'd be able to make it through without sobbing because I HATE seeing animals hurt or neglected... I can't stand it when they die in movies (seriously, I was a blubbering mess in King Kong and I Am Legend when the dog dies saving Will Smith).

It was really interesting to read it from Joey's point of view... kind of gives you a look into the mind and soul of these big, beautiful creatures that we can't get otherwise. He's got an incredibly huge heart and a gentle spirit and there were several places in his story that had me tearing up. I kept having to put my Kindle down because I just didn't think I could read any more. The poor thing just couldn't catch a break! But every time I read something that broke my heart, it was followed by something that put it right back together.

I think this would have to be one of my favorite novels. It's absolutely wonderful. I STILL don't know how watching the movie will go (I'll be sure to have lots of tissues) but if it's anything like the book it has to be wonderful.

Definitely recommended for everyone.

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