Jan 17, 2010

My Friend Flicka

by Mary O'Hara

One of my favorite books of all time. I don't remember what made me first pick it up at the public library, but for years I would periodically go back and read it, over and over. Eventually I discovered there were two more books by O'Hara about the same horse ranch, and I read those too.

My Friend Flicka is a coming-of-age story about a boy on a Wyoming horse ranch. Ken is something of a daydreamer, and struggles to please his authoritarian father and find direction for his future. More than anything else he wants a horse for his own, like his big brother. His father feels he isn't ready for that responsibility, but his mother talks him into letting the boy have a horse. Ken chooses an unbroken filly which proves to be the most difficult horse to tame on the entire ranch. Even when attempts to catch and break in his filly cause accidents and crisis, Ken is stubborn and sticks to his decision: he loves this horse, and never will give it up. I will let you know that while both Ken and the horse suffer, everything comes out right in the end!

More than just a book about boy and his horse, My Friend Flicka is a vivid picture of ranching life. The decisions his parents face in managing the ranch, dealing with financial issues, taking care of their stock, nurturing their marriage and raising their two boys in a remote area are an integral part of the story. The father worries that he's made the wrong choices in running horses on his range as opposed to sheep, the mother worries about her boys riding across pastures where they might meet dangers like half-wild stallions and bulls, or mountain lions come down from the hills. Although fiction, this novel (and its sequels) are based on a ranch the author lived on, and many of the characters and events in the stories are drawn from real life. To my mind, that makes reading them all the more intense and delightful.

Rating: 5/5 ........285 pages, 1941

More opinions at:
Reading to Know
anyone else written about this book? all I find when I search are film reviews!


Literary Feline said...

Wasn't this made into a movie? If so, I think I saw it. I haven't read the book though. It sounds like a real classic though and one worth reading.

bermudaonion said...

I remember loving this movie, but I'm sure the book is much better.

Gentle Reader said...

I loved this book when I was a kid. I know it was made into a movie--maybe more than once. I should search it out for my horse-mad daughter, and read the book to her when she's old enough :)

Eva said...

I enjoyed this book when I was little, but I didn't love it as much as Black Beauty or Misty of Chincoteague. I think because the father's really mean, and my dad had a temper too, so it just struck too close to home. I did love horses though!

Jeane said...

It's been made into a movie several times. The most recent one (that showed up in all my searches) had the main character a girl, not a boy- and changed so many things the story is almost unrecognizable.

Janet said...

My daughter listened to the audio version of this book last year. A few of the scenes remain vivid in my mind. It's a powerful story.

Peter S. said...

Hi, Jeane! I never knew that this was a book. I remember seeing this movie in cable when I was channel surfing. I'll check this out soon!

Ms. Yingling said...

I read this in 5th grade even though I was not a big horse fan. I'll try to see if I can get some children to read this one!