Monday, February 12, 2018

Book Review: 'Meeting of the Mustangs' by Cathy Kennedy

Cathy Kennedy makes her writing debut with this charming teen/young adults novel based on (in her words) ‘my story about wild mustangs in the American west. It's a story that I actually started writing as a teenager and only reworked and completed last year. It's a fictional account of the horses and is appropriate for anyone around age twelve and up.’

And this manner of unfettered humility slips into this well written story about horses that takes place in both Kansas and Colorado. The flavor of her writing is apparent in the opening chapter – ‘He didn't see the butterfly that flew past his nose, but he did see its shadow. He got up from his silly coltish position and began to chase it. For the three months of his life so far, he had always loved to chase shadows. He would chase bird shadows, butterfly shadows, even things as silly as shadows of tall flowers blowing in the wind. He often caught up with them, too, but he could never figure out why he couldn't keep hold of them. It was just too much for his young mind, despite the fact that he was only a horse. The reason he could catch up with them was because he was fast --- very fast. In fact, he was much faster than any of the other three- and four-month-old mustangs in the band. He had been born three months before, to a big, beautiful chestnut mare and his sire, who was also large. He was colored like his sire – pitch black.’

And then introduced to the main character Cathy summarizes the plot of this brief but well sculpted story: ‘A black colt is born into an exciting and dangerous world. Will his parents be able to protect him from becoming a victim? The wild mustangs encourage and protect each other, but what will happen when the man and his tame horse show up? Can the mustangs save themselves or will they be forced to abandon all they've ever known?’

Another welcome entry into the teen and young adult literary arena, Cathy Kennedy displays a fine sense of animal behavior and reactions and in doing so allows the reader to translate those patterns into the human responses we so very much need to emphasize. Grady Harp, April 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.