I was completely blown away by this short novel Completely Blown Away I m not going into a lengthy review here, but let me talk about some points Okay, so this novel isn t really about horses I m thinking there are a lot of people out there missing the point The Red Pony isn t what I would call one cohesive novel, but rather a collection of several glimpses into the farm ranch life of Jody The whole point of the pony is that Jody is learning to grow up, and he s learning that life isn t all rainbows and butterflies There s death, there s loss, there s grieving, there s anger, there s sadness Life doesn t always have happy endings, life is unfair, and the people we idolize in our own lives will at some point let us down That is what the pony is about Not only that, I just want to take the time to point out how amazing Steinbeck s writing itself is When I m reading a book, there are times when I m into the story and then there are times when I am there With The Red Pony, I was THERE Steinbeck s writing is so vivid, I just got completely lost in the story I had a crystal clear picture in my mind of the ranch, of Jody, of everything At the same time it is vivid, it isn t overbearing Sometimes authors go into this flowery mode of description, but not so with Steinbeck His descriptions and observations are straightforward much like Jody s outlook on life..hmm and easily readable You don t have to think so much about reading the text Steinbeck s focus is not superfluous language but rather he wants you to focus on the point of the story All in all, this ranks as one of my favorite of Steinbeck s. My 7yo daughter hung in there for Ch 1, but with the unexpected sad ending, she didn t wish to continue I went on to finish the last 3 chapters which were nearly as depressing as the first one It is beautifully written as Steinbeck usually is, but also incredibly devoid of hope The message seems to be, outside of your family, don t get attached to anything because it will betray you or die I felt the father character Carl Tiflin was particularly heartless and Billy Buck, the hired hand, a bit disappointing in that despite his supposed knowledge or horses and weather, he blows it nearly every time with Jody It was unfortunate that the book stops so suddenly as well, I was left wanting to see Jody grow up a bit Those fried eggs and hot cakes by Mrs Tiflin do sound yummy, and it was interesting to see a slice of life from pre war times out west. Sometime in the early 1930 s, on an isolated small ranch, in northern California s long, rugged, Salinas Valley, a boy of ten, mischievous Jody Tiflin, lives with his parents, stern father Carl, and the equally tough, but loving mother Ruth, they are poor like everyone else, in the area, yet manage to eke out a living, their only hired hand the very capable Billy Buck, an expert in taking care of horsesTwo dogs, four cats, six horses and the same amount of cows, many pigs, and chickens, various wild critters that roam the land, coyotes, rabbits, gophers, plenty of birds, and numerous rodents, etcetera, a typical place in that era The lonely boy walks a mile to school every day, nothing changes in the harsh, dull territory, until after his father and Billy Buck, return from a trip to the city of Salinas, to sell cows, bringing a gift to Jody, a beautiful, amazing, red pony, his own horse, the ecstatic child promises to take good care of the animal, with the help and knowledge of Billy Buck He trains the colt, shows him to his envious friends, now named Gabilan, after the mysterious local mountains, that Jody always wants to explore, asking questions, to everybody around, what s over there, they don t know, his imagination runs wild under the wise supervision of Mr.Buck, the kid can t wait until he can put the red saddle , that came with the horse, on the animal disappointed it will be two lengthy years, until that is possible, still the pony he is constantly thinking about, is kept clean and well fed a new respect his father shows him, the proud lad is happy, but the future is unclearA stranger arrives, a very old man named Gitano, who s family had owned a vast ranch , here, until it was broken up into little pieces, in fact born nearby, in a mud house , that has fallen down, he wants to stay , and never leave, besides as a youth, he had once been to the mountains, which fascinates Jody, too ancient to work, and in the great depression, money is hard to make, still insists, he won t take no for an answer In this episodic novella, Mrs.Tiflin s father, returns for a visit, Mr.Tiflin is not happy, but has no choice since all he does, is tell old stories, how he led a wagon train across the plains to California, during the old wild west days, and the Indians stealing their horses , after many such recitals , they become very boring, and nobody listens other than JodyA slice of Americana, that has long been gone, the ghosts still haunt the valley , these pioneers can never be totally forgotten, since they made California , what it is today whatever that is The red pony, John Steinbeck 1902 1968 The Red Pony is an episodic novella written by American writer John Steinbeck in 1933 The stories in the book are tales of a boy named Jody Tiflin The book has four different stories about Jody and his life on his father s California ranch Other main characters include Carl Tiflin Jody s father Billy Buck an expert in horses and a working hand on the ranch Mrs Tiflin Jody s mother Jody s grandfather Mrs Tiflin s father, who has a history of crossing the Oregon Trail, and enjoys telling stories about his experiences and Gitano an old man who wishes to die at the Tiflin ranch 1975 1353 144 1362 20. I don t think I could read a Steinbeck novel by the fire with a glass of wine No, like on the back porch wearing old jeans and a work shirt, because you feel like you may get your jeans dirty and your boots dusty, and maybe even a little blood on your shirt That s the power of his writing, his characters and settings he will draw you in, even if you don t want to be Not much fun inside a Steinbeck novel, at least the ones I ve read That kind of power is on display here in The Red Pony When the pony bites young Jody s hand, you wince with his pain And that s how it is with this very visual novel This novel is broken down into three somewhat different stories, and the red pony only appears in the first which I thought a bit odd The other sections dwell on different topics The novel doesn t build to a climatic ending, it descends into nostalgic introspection I give it 3.5 stars. Next time you decide to make a printing of The Red Pony, feel free to borrow one of these free blurbs Do you like people hanging around on a farm Do you like horses and animals and stuff Then you ll think this book is okay It has horses, and grass, and farms and stuff, and is an easy read Or John Steinbeck is a writer of amazing stature in American literature He stands head and shoulders above just about anyone, wiping his feet on Faulkner, flicking Mark Twain out of his way like a little bug He defacates on Edith Wharton s pillow, eats Henry Miller for breakfast, and he doesn t even know who Guy N Smith is He wrote this book Or The epic saga of two families in the Salinas valley, and considered by Steinbeck himself to be his magnum opus, this is a novel that has changed literature, and made Steinbeck an iconic figure Oh, wait, The Red Pony I thought we were talking about East of Eden I don t remember a goddamn thing about The Red Pony. Or SPOILERS IN THIS ONE SPOILERS IN THIS ONE SPOILERS IN THIS ONE You call THIS The Red Pony You got a lot of nerve That s like changing the name of Star Wars A New Hope to Greedo It s like calling The Land Before Time something like Little Foot s Mom. It s like putting a picture of Drew Barry on the cover of the movie Scream. It doesn t make any fucking sense What were you thinking, John Not As I Remembered It 66 Years Ago.I read this as a child, and I cried It may have been the first real novel that I had ever read, as I was actually6 into reading comic books at that age.My brother was reading The Grapes of Wrath at that same time and was asking our mother if it were true about the dust bowl and depression and what the people went through It was, she said.My father had given my older brother a collection of John Steinbeck books, so the reason we chose him to read I grew to love Steinbeck, but I am not so sure about this book now It was just too sad for me as a child of ten or so.I remember as a child I would lose all my dogs to death, and the baby lamb that my step dad brought home I sat there with the lamb in my lap as it was dying, and I asked God, Why I got no answer A few years later I began to feel that every animal I ever loved died And, well, they still do This book was not what I remember4ed, but I really had no idea what I remembered as it was too long ago I also didn t remember that this book was four stories It was about Jody s growing up years I was glad for this, as I liked two of the other stories better Only they were all too short I was also glad that I did not cry this time.I really loved the story about the old pisano, Gitano, who showed up on the ranch saying that he was born there and desired to die there Jody asked him questions about the mountains to the west of the farm that was situated near Salina, CA Jody only knew that they lead to the ocean Gitano had only adventured there once but only remembered that it was quiet Jody wanted to hike the mountains, and that is what I would have done since I spent my youth hiking the hills in our small town of Paso Robles, CA and going to the river with my dogs, whichever one I had at the time Jody didn t venture out, and I wonder if that was because he had a strict father, a father I was glad to not have had Yet, my own father was mean, but my mom divorced when I was 8 I had free range of the town, the hills, and the river after that.Then Jody s grandfather came to visit, and I would have loved that story to go on as well as the one about the pisano It was not to be As soon as his grandfather arrived, problems broke out in the family, well, only with Jody s dad, and it was not going to be a nice visit, except that Jody wanted to learn from him He wanted to know about his trip out to California by wagon train, as he had been the wagaon train master All in all, it seemed like everything was dying around Jody, mostly by his own hands, such as horn toads, snakes, mice, etc It left me with a feeling that I didn t wish to hear any Kids can be so cruel at times, and it made me to remember how my boyfriend first husband and I put a mouse in a flashlight, but when we took it out he was almost dead I think he survived I hate memories like that, or when we shot frogs at the river with a b b gun How cruel I wonder what my mom would have said if she had known I know if I had had kids, I would hope that I would have taught them to not harm animals.I would not have liked farm life, unless we were just raising food crops And it seems like the older I get the less I like harming anything unless it is poisonous snake or spider or anything that is about to harm me But real life isn t so easy on a person, and it certainly wasn t easy on Jody.Notes I loved this when I was young, so I am keeping the 4 or 5 stars I would only give it three stars today.RerRead June 26, 2019 WARNING HORSE LOVERS DON T READ THIS BECAUSE YOU THINK IT WILL BE ABOUT HORSES AND DON T REVIEW IT SAYING THAT THAT S WHAT YOU EXPECTED BECAUSE I JUST WARNED YOU I am sorry if you were forced to read this book for school it would really take the beauty out of it if someone forced you to read The Red Pony I feel that way about all Steinbeck books actually.It is a little difficult to get into in the beginning, but overall, this book shows the raw and unpredicible way people deal with their emotions It is beautiful, and at times, frightening I think people who have not been do not know the midwest or the country well should read this book it will be a new experience for you, and show you a different way of life.
- The Red Pony
- John Steinbeck
- 07 November 2019 John Steinbeck