Monday, December 29, 2008 by Amy
Alice Winston is a 12 year-old-girl who is growing up on a Colorado horse farm. Her mother suffers from apparent depression rarely leaving her bedroom. Her sister Nona, the pride of the family and the showing circuit, gets married and runs away leaving Alice alone to help her father run the barn. They are always short of money and her father is always trying to find a way to make ends meet even though it means doing things that they’d really rather not such as boarding horses for rich people.
Alice is walking the painful line where she isn’t quite a child nor is she an adult. She is forced to deal with several difficult things for a 12 year-old: the death of a classmate, her mother’s emotional problems, her sister’s abandonment, and feeling that she will never please her father. Plus, she is dealing with all of the normal 12 year-old things like her first kiss, her first heart-breaking crush, and finding her niche among her peers.
This book didn’t turn out to be anything like I thought it would be. I am not a particular fan of either westerns or horse stories. However, this is a beautiful story of a young girl dealing with the ordinary difficulties of coming of age as well as the individual difficulties unique to her life. I spent a lot of time alternating between wanting to shake the snot out of Alice’s father and feeling really sorry for him for the way his life worked out. I also had the same reaction to her sister Nona. Alice just seemed to be a tumbling along in their wake. She does eventually find her footing though not before suffering a few painful missteps. In the end, I was left admiring them all because even though they made bad choices at times, they made the best that they could from the circumstances of their lives.
I found this book touching and well worth reading. (4/5)