Opposing Reader Reviews

Marie Dean, a strong supporter of the CHDC, wrote this review of Ground Manners. A Novel:

Ground Manners by Cynthia D’Errico is a rollercoaster book of thrills and heart-pounding drama.  I have never been so absorbed, and never read a book so fast before in my life – just couldn’t put it down.  Ground Manners has actually got me interested in reading again.  It was thought provoking, captivating and I so wanted to be part of the group of characters – I so wanted to meet them in person – crazy!  The love and trust between human and horse, as well as between the horses themselves is so eloquently expressed that you are engulfed in the deepest of bonds.    Being a horse owner and lover I felt so greatly the vulnerable side of the horse, which Cynthia puts into words so gently that you are exhausted from emotion.    The details of horse slaughter are few, but the terror is felt and written between the lines – the horror and evil is understood.  Powerful read!! —Marie Dean, Waterford, Ontario, Supporter of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC).

Now here’s another Review written by someone on Amazon (and I did try to reach him to get his permission, but alas, so I hope he doesn’t mind my posting it here [csa was his moniker]):

This wasn’t quite what I expected. It dwelled a bit too long on the rescue aspect of horses and described things I really wish I could “unread”. I know there are people who need to be reminded of the cruelty of humans toward other inhabitants of this earth, but for one with a lot of empathy, it was just a bit over the top for me. The story line was easy to follow although a bit contrived and required a stretch of belief in places. The most interesting parts to read, aside from the historic aspect of the Canadian horse (of which I own several), were the interactions among the herd of horses. Those parts helped me see some members of our herd in a new light. The author did a good job of expressing the spirits of horses.

 

Of course, what I really liked

Read More

Good News about Ground Manners. A Novel

Good News about Ground Manners. A Novel

Every now and then, I have a brainstorm…as opposed to my usual state, “bubblebrain”.  I came across Carol Upton’s site almost by chance, circuitously anyway, as most “stumbles-upon” occur on the internet.  When I read her site, I just knew that this was the person I’d been desperately wishing into existence to help me market GM and its message to the public.  Now don’t get me wrong:  I have marketing experience; I’m a pretty smart cookie, neurons only just lately starting to crumble, so I thought I’d done a pretty fair job so far.  But now, Carol…well, Carol, like one of those gentle forces of nature–like a sudden wind that knocks you off your feet, or a downpour that wets you through and through before you’ve even processed that it’s raining–just shimmers into your circle like Gwenda in The Wizard of OZ, and carefully assesses your needs, dialogues with you (as a person and as a writer), and then produces results far beyond your expectations, and makes it appear so simple and easy, that you are left quite speechless (which, as you know, is a rare state for me).  (I bet she has a magic wand on her person somewhere; it must be another ‘practical magic’ thing, eh.)   So, before I go on to list and link to the important horse websites which Carol somehow persuaded to carry her excellent Press Review of GM, let me just say ‘thanks, Carol.  I am most beholden to you.’  And one of the most heartwarming results of Carol’s work on Ground Manners’ behalf is that Yvonne Allen, who owns Voice for the Horse in Langley, BC, has asked me to provide, as a prize, a copy of my novel for their First Annual International Writing Competition.  Now, I ask you:  does lightning strike twice?  

Read More

Every Horse Owner’s Friend: Deb Harper

Every Horse Owner’s Friend:  Deb Harper

Right…I know…my last post was supposed to be about the amazing work Deb Harper, natural horse trainer, does, and I ended up talking about so many other things.  Deb Harper  graciously allowed me to spend one full day and one half with her horses in Abbotsford, British Columbia.  Now understand:  I grew up with horses here in Quebec.  My middle brother taught me to ride (Western) and there wasn’t a horse I couldn’t ride, including our humongous stallion, Tornado the Third.  My youngest brother and I would ride for hours in the fields owned by B.P. (British Petroleum) and Union Carbide (they didn’t mind); we could ride for two hours in fields and forests, uninterrupted by civilisation…until we’d come up eventually to Henri-Bourassa boulevard and the nearest “Roi de la Patate”, a fast-food outlet of the era, offering steamed hot dogs and French fries, poutine…that sort of, um, brainfood.  We could stop for a rest, unsaddle and we and the horses would just lie down and chill…no reason to hobble or tie up our friends:  we were all just hangin’.  We were there together, just enjoying the place and the day. 

Read More

War Horse

War Horse

I must have been living under a rock.  I’ve only just now heard about Spielberg’s production of War Horse, a novel by Michael Purgaro.  War Horse has already won the Tony award in the UK as a play (yes, a play with puppet horses); is now playing on Broadway in New York to sold-out audiences.  The movie will be released in Canada near Christmas.  Published in 1982, this inspiring story, told by the horse himself, has finally reached the silver screen.  I can’t wait to read the book and then see it interpreted by the incomparable Spielberg.  Go to the following sites to see the movie trailer and to see a wonderful monologue by the author, Purgaro, about the genesis of the book.  

Read More

Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited

As I slog along in life, it always throws me when just a smell or a place or a person can propel me into a hellish period of my past, one of many temporal nodes decorating life’s stress lines.  At those moments, when my spirit is overtaken by such an unbidden mnemonic, I am returned, violently, to a place of powerlessness.  The memory overwhelms, not just current reality, but erases for the time being all the self-growth, the va-et-vient of character as it is hammered-and-tonged in the forge of life.  It all sounds too precious, I know, but the return to that place of suppression of self, of terror of doing the wrong thing (by someone else’s lights, not yours, never yours and so how do you know if and when you’re doing their “wrong”?) or of  being abused for inscrutable and clearly irrational reasons, paralyzes the soul.  You are back there where there is no escape, no justice, no appeal to reason and all recourse is just a hollow calling out into the dark of the night where no one will hear and no help is about.  All the wisdom you’ve hoarded and transformed into the personal inner resources you call upon to rescue that damaged, deadly memory seem to have gone on the lam somewhere–somewhere, anyway, where you can’t access and apply them.  

Read More

My Gentle Reader: Smart Readers, Part Three

My Gentle Reader: Smart Readers, Part Three

Note:  Do not read this until you’ve read the ending to Ground Manners. A Novel !

Another Note:  When the novel, as a literary genre, first gained ground in the mid-17oo’s (Fanny Burney, etc), the author often interpellated the reader (i.e., spoke directly to the reader in the novel) and referred to him as “gentle reader” hence the title of this blog.  “Gentle” at that time implied “someone of good or high breeding”.  The “novel” was very much a new way of writing at that time whence the word “novel” meaning “new” in French. It’s not that I don’t think you already know all this…it’s just that I’ve forgotten most of what most Arts students have yet to learn, and I wanted to test what’s left of my own knowledge.

To read how the conversation you’re about to read came about, go to my previous blog post, Readers Smarter Than I Am.  When a reader with a wide-ranging intelligence like Roxanne’s takes the time to comment and ask questions, you can bet that it’s a treat for the writer. More, it enlarges and refreshes my own view of the work which, after having lived with the story and the characters for three years, can become trite and stale, though the actual writing of it was indeed full of passion and fury and all those other emoticons.  

Read More