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The Red Pony by John Steinbeck
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The Red Pony (1933)

by John Steinbeck

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,985741,786 (3.49)1 / 207
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English (72)  Catalan (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (74)
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
Who captures the disappoint and tragedy of everyday life like Steinbeck? The Red Pony takes place on a farm (and for those of you who have never spent time on a real farm, I can tell you that life is hard and nature is cruel). The boy, Jody, is coming of age and being faced with what it is to be human, to cope with loss, to watch the death of dreams, and to do this in the shadow of a father who tolerates no sentimentality. The last section in this series of tales in Jody's life is the most poignant of all for me, because when the life of hard times is spent, there is not even any room for remembering and softening the edges of the past.

I found each of the stories within the story to be pregnant with meaning. It was so easy to see life from the different characters' points of view. Jody, as a boy, trying to sort out what life actually does mean, Billy Buck living within the family but outside it and trying to live up to the image Jody has of him and his reputation for knowing everything, the father who is trying to hold this enterprise together and make sound decisions and who must always put practical matters first, and the mother who provides the base around which the men revolve.

So much depth in so few pages! So often novellas leave me feeling cheater or wanting more because the story feels unfinished. This is not the case here. Steinbeck knows exactly what he wants to say and he knows exactly when he has said it. ( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
A collection of four solid but unremarkable short stories (packaged as a sort of novella) revolving around Jody, a young boy who lives on a ranch in the Salinas Valley of California in (presumably) the 1930s. Now, this setting would later prove such fertile ground for Steinbeck's incomparable masterpiece East of Eden, but the connected stories of The Red Pony lack such wealth. They are coming-of-age stories and carry that sort of hard but wistful scent to them, but they are simply pictures rather than parables. Steinbeck writes well, of course, but there is good imagery and some storytelling pathos and little else.

The title and the beautiful Wesley Dennis illustrations trick you into believing this might be a children's book about the love of horses, but it is not really (except maybe at the age-neutral and tough-minded Of Mice and Men level). The stories here take place on a working ranch and animals are treated roughly and sometimes brutally. Steinbeck evokes that sense of the great American westering, where the stories are romantic but also brutal, and somehow all the more romantic for that. ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jul 1, 2018 |
I hate this book. ( )
  Joanna.Oyzon | Apr 17, 2018 |
Well it wasn't my favorite, beautifully written though, but I remember now why Steinbeck wasn't my favorite author when we read a few of his (not this one though) in middle school. I still don't understand why they pick such dreary novels for middle school students to read, the years of teen angst, peer pressure, & growing pains could certainly use a few comedies or adventures that might promote love of reading instead of only required reading. ( )
  RivetedReaderMelissa | Mar 22, 2018 |
although a young adult novel, I read it because Canadian Author Ann (Giller prize nominee) said it was the first book she remembered reading on her own - was surprising and sad but poignant and yes, life changing
  frahealee | Dec 3, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Steinbeckprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dennis, WesleyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muller, FrankNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seelye, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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At daybreak Billy Buck emerged from the bunkhouse and stood for a moment on the porch looking up at the sky.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the entry for the single work "The Red Pony". Please don't combine with anthologies containing more than this story, or with abridged/retold versions.
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Book description
Raised on a ranch in northern California, Jody is well-schooled in the hard work and demands of a rancher's life. He is used to the way of horses, too; but nothing has prepared him for the special connection he will forge with Gabilan, the hot-tempered pony his father gives him. With Billy Buck, the hired hand, Jody tends and trains his horse, restlessly anticipating the moment he will sit high upon Gabilan's saddle. But when Gabilan falls ill, Jody discovers there are still lessons he must learn about the ways of nature and, particularly, the ways of man.
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Tells story of a young boy and his life on his father's ranch. Ownership of a red pony teaches ten-year-old Jody about life and death.

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Average: (3.49)
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1 32
1.5 7
2 75
2.5 11
3 201
3.5 43
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4.5 15
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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185090, 0141332905, 0241952506

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