Wednesday, October 13, 2010

God of Animals

The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle
Weight: 9.9 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving somewhere in Decatur, GA

The God of Animals was found in the break room of a Barnes and Noble. It was an advanced reader’s edition, and no one had picked it up. It just sat there for days until I grabbed it, but I tucked it away and never read it. It wasn’t intentional. I just got distracted and forgot about it until I started this blog project.

I found it again recently, and I began reading it. I have since read that the depictions of horse farms and horse shows are entirely inaccurate. I find this to be a relief since it all seemed so deplorable, but it is also disappointing because good research is always important when writing fiction. I really do not know a lot about ranches and the whatnot. I am just now beginning to spend some time on a farm, and I do not think I will ever see those kinds of details—like breeding/birthing and euthanasia. Though, to give Aryn Kyle credit, I do not think she was ever trying to portray this particular ranch as the shining example of what all ranches are and should be. I am sure it was quite the opposite.

Regardless of the things I have heard, the book itself is good. I felt for the coming-of-age character, Alice, who was overlooked by almost everyone in her life. She had to lie, turn vicious, or act dangerously to get anyone she loved to pay attention to her. Her life is set on a ranch that ties together the disappointments of many, many people. Every character is a monster, an average person, and amazing. There is not one person who does not encompass all of these traits. Not one. The abuse of the animals is brutal and hard to read through, but it has a place in the novel. It is not gratuitous. In the end, I felt empty. I saw Alice move on, the others succumb to their own problems, the mother fade away without answering all of my questions about her (I cared for her so much), and I was still stuck there with a dead horse.

I don’t know what else to tell you. Humans are not better than their animal counterparts, but they are probably much worse. That came through to me loud and clear.

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