Way-Back Wednesdays

Or, uhh…Throwback Thursdays?

Yeah.

Totally not my fault. Have you ever tried to put together the LEGO Super Heroes Batmobile and the Two-Face Chase set? Well, now I have. All 531 pieces of it. And there went my Wednesday.

So, while my son is learning the finer points of bank heists (apparently, exterior walls of banks just pull right off. Seems very lifelike. And, no worries, the security guard only has a walkie-talkie, so it’s not like he’s going to stop you. Batman, on the other hand…) I can get to this week’s review.

Anyway, today is another entry in my weekly installment of Way-Back Wednesdays (or Throwback Thursdays, if a certain someone’s Wednesday was consumed with tiny plastic bricks), in which I am making my way through a box I was recently given, filled with books from my childhood bedroom. I’ve been utilizing the scientific selection process known as closing my eyes and grabbing a book.

This week, I will delve into what was my greatest childhood passion, and something I miss greatly. As a kid, I was horse crazy (and I don’t mean, “Ooh, I want a pony,” crazy, I mean hardcore fanatic—like a Twilight fan in the photo line at ComicCon. Cray-zay.). I took riding lessons from age ten until I left for college, and had a beautiful American Quarter Horse whose name was Cyclone. Sadly, I haven’t ridden in years, but it is something I hope to get back to.

My favorite book series as a kid was The Black Stallion. I had every book, and have read each a minimum of six times, I would guess. My grasp found The Black Stallion and Satan (oooh, sounds ominous!) for this week’s pick. It is the fifth book in Walter Farley’s classic series—the fourth in this storyline. And yes, I should probably read and review these in order, but I’m not so sure anyone is interested in reading a book by book review of the enitre series. And this is random. But there are a lot of these books in that box (yet quite a few of them are missing. Weird), so brace yourselves.

The Black Stallion series follows the life of Alexander (Alec) Ramsey, who as a boy in the 1940s survives a shipwreck and finds himself on a deserted island with a wild stallion he names the Black.

Not to be confused with Wyld Stallyns

Boy and horse are rescued, and Alec brings the Black home with him to live happily ever after, until a Sheikh Abu Ishak shows up to claim rightful ownership of the horse. The Black Stallion and Satan picks up after Alec has raised the Black’s first foal, Satan, who Ishak gives Alec as a sort of consolation for taking the Black back to Arabia.

Alec receives a letter from Ishak’s daughter, stating he had died after being thrown from the Black, and Alec had been bequeathed the animal. Alec and the Black are reunited, and just in time for the International Cup, a race featuring the top champion horses from around the world.

Owner, jockey, and college student, Alec is one busy dude, and must decide if he plans to race the Black again. Probably not a good idea, since the Black’s first and only race was a bit of a disaster. But the temptation is great, and Alec must wrestle with the idea, while maintaining his racing career and ownership duties, not to mention the looming school year.

This week’s read was nostalgia-city for me, and I must admit to totally loving it. The book was written in 1949 but still resonates with the horse-crazed today. At least, me. And that’s what matters, right?

RIGHT?

Ahem. Anyway, aside from a DDT reference (yeah, you may want to keep that stuff away from horses. And people. And anything that breathes, for that matter), these books are pretty timely. Yet they would never fly with today’s publishers, I’d bet. A middle grade(ish) series about a college student? Try selling that one. I mean, in book one he’s quite a bit younger, but the bulk of the series he’s college aged or older. Yet it totally works.

If you were ever a fan, go read these again. If you weren’t, they’re definitely worth a read. Get them for your kids, so they can be horse crazy, too. You’ll thank me. Horses rule.

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