The Red Pony
Sometimes, when a book's title mentions ponies, one might think of The Saddle Club or rich white girls in knee-high boots. A middle-school girl's horse obsession might come to mind. This is not one of those books. Steinbeck wrote about the common man, the everyday person who experiences an exceptionally ordinary life- although this sort of life might seem foreign to us in 2013. This can be a difficult book, especially for those of us who grew up far away from the farms that produce our food. Steinbeck doesn't pull any punches when describing any of the unpleasant aspects of farm life, and he doesn't shy away from death. Steinbeck treats death as a part of life, not a separate event, as we tend to do now. Remember that this is really more of a handful of short stories that happen to feature the same basic characters. It is not a novel, and it's not composed of chapters. Thankfully, the edition I have mentions this in the blurb on the back, otherwise I might have been pretty confused. This book doesn't have much of a climax, nor does it have a resolution, really, or a moral, or a "point." It's a few stories that are each a peek into a world where life is going on as usual. I found it to be beautifully written, describing the beauty one can find in the mundane, if one only bothers to look. It's not an easy read, because life is not, nor has it ever been, easy- except for a select lucky few. The average family, especially a family who lived during the time period this story is set in, doesn't live a cushy existence, and they are the people Steinbeck wrote about.