Friday, May 16, 2008

Book Review - On a Hoof and a Prayer

On a Hoof and a Prayer is the fourth book by Polly Evans.  This time she travels to Argentina to learn to ride a horse and to experience the country.  I love her books. I find her stories compelling and fascinating. She is very descriptive about the places she visits and the things she experiences.  Each of her previous books feature her exploring a country using different methods.  It's Not About the Tapas, her first book, is the story of her travels around Spain by bike. She was a novice bike rider at the beginning and you could feel your muscles aching in sympathy with hers in the early part of her journey.  She toured China by train and bus in Fried Eggs with Chopsticks and with her weeks old motorcycle license, rented a motorcycle and cycled all over New Zealand in Kiwis Might Fly. This time around, despite the title, her mode of transportation was more often than not, something other than a horse. There were horses early in the book and occasionally in the middle of the book but they were overshadowed by more mundane airline reservation issues. I don't think she intended to ride all over Argentina on a horse, but given her other books, I assumed there would be more riding than there actually was.  It was a very good book, as well written and engrossing as her others, but I was expecting more riding.  Her bike was as much a character in It's Not About the Tapas as she was, so was her motorcycle in Kiwi's Might Fly. Much of what I love about her books is reading about her struggles with transportation, the pain of biking up mountains, the crowded buses in China, the fear of opening the throttle in New Zealand.  I had hoped there would be more about horseback riding, so I was a bit disappointed in this book.  Her next one is about sled dogs in Canada & I'm hoping she spends more time with them than she did with the horses in Argentina. But both countries are very large and you can no more tour Canada by dogsled than you can Argentina by horse.