Saturday, August 29, 2009

Book Review: Another Kind of Cowboy [2007]

Another Kind of Cowboy, by Susan Juby, is a bit of a strange book because it's all about horses, riding, and training, but ultimately it doesn't have that many scenes where riding and competition feature prominently. Juby splits the narrative between Alex, the closeted dressage enthusiast, and Cleo, the spoiled rich-girl character who is exiled to riding school in Canada for her poor behavior. Alex learns to enjoy the company of people as well as horses, and the book is in some ways the story of the reunification of his family. Cleo learns to exercise her judgment (at least a little), and, of course, Alex finally comes out of the closet. I felt like the horsey details of the book and its supporting cast were its strongest points. Alex's twin sisters, who are convinced they will be martial arts movie stars when they grow up, are hilarious. I didn't quite understand why Alex's narrative was presented in third person while Cleo's was in first person--because Alex's motivations are supposed to be more mysterious? Because the author is female and felt more comfortable using the "I" with Cleo? I felt that this division really did Alex a disservice (his story is to me the more compelling one). It's a quick, easy read, and its engaging characters rise above the somewhat predictable storyline to create a pleasing package.

Grade: B-

The author's website.

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