A book about a race horse that won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2001 and was later made into a film, starring Tobey Maguire, might seem a book of specialist interest only, however, Hillenbrand manages to produce a book that captures an era.
Concerned with the most unpromising superstar of the racetrack, she builds a world around this little horse and though it reads like a work of fiction, it is entirely factual. The endearing nature of this story is created by the fact that the horse, jockey and trainer were all washed up, no hopers. Life had dealt them cruel blows and they looked dead and buried, but they overcame all adversities. In this they carried the hopes and dreams of millions of Americans, during the depression years of the 1930s.
Hillenbrand has clearly done her research but this is presented in a most accessible and engaging way. The life of the young jockey in 1930’s America was dangerous and tough, but then life was tough for all. The importance of dreams and the hope of a better life, that all Americans of the Depression era carried, was embodied in this little horse, the battered jockey and the trainer touched by tragedy. A truly “feel good” read – and you don’t need to be into horse racing to enjoy it.
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ online catalogue here.