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Riding Lessons (Anglais)

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Book by Sara Gruen

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"Are you ready?" says Roger as he gives me a leg up, and I laugh, because I've never been so ready in all my life. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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Amazon.com: 328 commentaires
33 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Best new novelist I've read this year 30 mars 2004
Par L.K. Kiernan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
Riding Lessons is so well crafted and written that it's astonishing to realize it's Gruen's first novel. The book is worth reading for the first breathless scene alone, but Gruen managed to keep me hooked throughout. I read it in two sittings (a girl's gotta eat), and it's now on my shelf of books that I look forward to reading again.
Annemarie's contemporary family issues ring painfully true, especially her relationship with her difficult mother and her rebellious daughter. But Gruen respects her reader and never resorts to typical solutions. Her father's illness is so poignantly rendered that I found myself biting my thumbnail as I read, aching for Annemarie. Gruen also manages a few deftly written comic scenes when Annemarie gets in over her head. The ending was perfect, no overwrought melodramatic scenes that first novelists can't seem to help, but a profound and moving, even elegant, wrap-up that left me fully satisfied.
I haven't been around horses very much, but the riding and stable scenes show that Gruen certainly has, and though the book appeals to everyone, horse people are going to absolutely love it. After a string of disappointing new novels on the shelves this year, Riding Lessons was a rare treat. Definitely looking forward to Gruen's next.
83 internautes sur 96 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Beautiful story of broken families and broken dreams 18 juin 2007
Par Schtinky - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
AnneMarie Zimmer was a contender, destined for the high circuits of horse jumping, with her precious Highland Harry. But when Harry breaks a leg on a jump and sends AnneMarie to the hospital, paralyzed with a broken neck, her dreams, and her family's dreams, are shattered.

Years later, Annemarie is recovered, married with a 15 year old daughter, and has never ridden a horse since the death of Harry. Then her life falls apart again, one-two-three. One, she loses her job. Two, her daughter is failing school and her husband announces he's leaving her for a mistress. Three, Annemarie discovers her vital father has advanced ALS. Broken and in shock, Annemarie returns with Eva, her daughter, to the farm where she was raised to see and help care for her father.

With Eva out of control at fifteen (getting piercings, tattoos, smoking, wanting to date, running away, etc), her father deteriorated to barely functional in a wheelchair, and her husband shacked up with a much younger woman, Annemarie loses control of her life. She takes over management of the stables and discovers her mother (Mutti) was right when she said Annemarie couldn't handle the responsibility.

But in the midst of the chaos of her life comes a ragged horse saved by veterinarian and old boyfriend Dan, a liver colored brindle as rare as Annemarie's beloved Harry. Annemarie adopts the recalcitrant horse, rescued from a slaughter pen, and begins to work with him. But when she finds out the one-eyed horse is none other than Harry's brother Highland Hurrah, pronounced dead by former owner to collect a cool million-plus in insurance, she fears that Hurrah may be taken away from her.

Sara Gruen is a talent to be reckoned with. Not only are her characters fully fleshed and unique, but they breathe with the life she has put into them. You'll feel like they are your own friends or neighbors, someone you know intimately. Annemarie is a person you can relate to, making mistake after mistake but always finding a way to deal with the problems, even if her resolutions are late at times. Eva is far from a perfect child, making her own mistakes and showing herself to be her mother's daughter.

'Riding Lessons' is a story of human triumph and defeat, of mistakes made and corrected, of real life slapping you across the face when you least expect it. The pains of losses are balanced by family, friends, and personal drive to become something before life passes swiftly by. Not to mention, the love of the great, beautiful beasts we call horses. When love overcomes tragedy, there are tears and smiles and sighs to experience. 'Riding Lessons' give us all of that and more.

I highly recommend picking up Sara Gruen's other book, 'Water For Elephants', especially if you liked riding lessons. 'Water For Elephants' has even more maturity in Gruen's writing, but this first book is an amazing accomplishment for a novice writer. I highly recommend 'Riding Lessons'. Enjoy!
58 internautes sur 68 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Hilarious, but not in a good way 22 juillet 2008
Par Charles Quimby - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
My wife and I had this book on CD for a long car trip. We picked it on the basis of availability and Gruen's Water for Elephants. We listened to the end only because it was all we had, and because we developed a fascination with how bad it was, wondering how the author could turn this self-centered, singularly unappealing character into someone sympathetic who grew and learned by the end.

Well, it never happened. She never grew, never became more reasonable, never took an interest in others except how they reflected back on her. In a more mature writer's hands, this might've become a powerful portrait of a totally dysfunctional, tragic character.

At some point, we lost all curiosity about how the author would redeem this character, because it was clear she wouldn't. And because she was the narrator, we never learned much of interest about any of the other characters. Eventually, it became a challenge -- could we make it to the end?

We agreed if we were reading the book, we both would've tossed it across the room long ago. But we egged each other on, taking turns predicting plot twists and laughing uproariously at the heroine's self-absorbed descriptions of her trials.

At the end, we both burst into laughter -- at relief we had made it all the way and at the author's ham-handed romance novel descriptions. Unless you like bodice rippers, learn a lesson from our experience and run, run away from this book!
17 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A wonderful read 8 février 2006
Par book wyrm - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche Achat vérifié
This is just a very good read about very likeable people and their horses; their tragedies and their triumphs.

I found the story compelling and believable. Yes, as one reviewer points out, some of it seemed a bit of a stretch - but life IS like that - and people under stress Do do the strangest things.

I can easily see most any woman reacting in the very same ways. I know I can see myself trying to cook a dinner far beyond my abilities under the right circumstances - and taking the hair dye to the horse's hide - Yeah - I might have done that too, in similar circumstances.

The situation with the daughter, as well as the relationship with the Mom and Dad rang 100% true. So too, did the relationship with the vet and the Ex - and the horses - it all rang so true.

I was nearly moved to tears in the first chapter - just reading about the connection between horse and rider - the trust, the oneness that takes place, when it all "clicks." I never read a better description of what that feels like. And the telling of what its like to loose such an animal - that too, was done remarkably well.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Trade Riding Lessons for Writing Lessons 23 janvier 2009
Par Samantha Hoffman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Hard to believe the same person who wrote Water for Elephants wrote this book. It's not nearly as well written or well-crafted. Sara Gruen, thankfully, has grown as a writer since she wrote this one. I hope that her further efforts will be more in the vein of Water for Elephants.
The story in Riding Lessons is not engaging and the characters are not believable, particularly the main character who is too stupid to relate to. She does ridiculous things, treats people in amazingly inappropriate ways and is, in general, too annoying to care about. If she were a real person you'd want to slap her. It's hard to get into a book when you feel that way about the main character.
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