Thursday, July 21, 2011

War Horse

"This one isn't just any old horse. There's a nobility in his eye, a regal serenity about him. Does he not personify all that men try to be and never can be? I tell you my friend, there's divinity in a horse, especially a horse like this."
~War Horse

There aren't many things that can make me cry, but the book War Horse by Michael Morpurgo had me wiping away tears as they filled my eyes and ran down my cheeks. I had to stop at moments just to blink away the foggy collection of tears so I could see the page and keep reading. I couldn't stop- I just had to know if he and Albert found each other. I won't give away the ending, but I will say the last chapter was where the tears fell freely down my face as I thought about what each of the characters in the book went through.

Being a horse enthusiast, when I hear the word "horse" my ears instantly perk up and I investigate. When I heard that there was a play based around a horse, I knew I wanted to see it. Sadly the play was only being performed in London so it would be a while before I'd be able to see it. Then when it opened in NY this past year and my hopes of seeing the play were coming closer to being a reality. And then when I heard that Steven Spielberg was making it into a movie the chance of seeing it in action was just a few months away. I know that the play is going to be different than the movie- but the story line remains the same. I will still be waiting to see the play and when I get the chance you can bet I'll be one of the first in line buying tickets for the play and movie!!! But me being me, I HAD to read the book. So a couple of days ago I downloaded it onto my Kindle, and lets just say it just took one really long night to finish the book.

The story is told from the point of view from Joey, the horse, so it has a bit of a Black Beauty feel to it. But instead of the other horses talking to Black Beauty, it is more like a self monologue of Joey's life. The human characters talk to Joey and their words come through as the only dialogue in the book, and the rest is what Joey sees and feels. But this book is more than a story about a boy and his horse, it is about War, and the costs of conflict. Joey travels to both sides of the War, and when he arrives on the German side and is put to work bringing the wounded from the front to the hospital he notes "I had see the same gray faces looking out from under their helmets somewhere before. All that was different were the uniforms-"(pg 69) Without getting into a political discussion about War (because this blog is about horses, not opinions) I just wanted to say, that no matter what side you're on there is another side. And it might just take the honest opinion of an unbiased horse to make you realize that. WWI was a bloody massacre because war strategy hadn't changed, but the weapons had. There are parts in the book that Joey lives through that paint this picture, and while being a children's book for ages 8-12- it doesn't go into extreme detail, but you can easily imagine what Joey saw.

So without giving away the entire book and rambling on forever and ever, I send you off with 2 clips- The War Horse trailer, and video of the puppets from the play- I'm still in awe over the life like mannerisms that the puppeteers bring to the horse

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