Feb 26, 2012

The Secret Life of Cowboys

by Tom Groneberg

This book is one that grew on me. Don't judge The Secret Life of Cowboys by its cover or its title, because neither seem a good fit to me. It's a thoughtful, frank memoir of a man searching for a new life, trying to live his dream. Groneberg has always wanted to be a cowboy, to live close to cattle and horses, to love the land. He gets a job leading trail rides for tourists, then works as a hired hand on a ranch, and finally gets his dream- a ranch of his very own. But all along he struggles to fit in, to learn skills kids around him have mastered, to understand simple things that no one bothers to explain because they assume it's common knowledge. He struggles at managing the ranch. The ending surprised me. It's not all happy. Love for the big open skies, wide fields and animals shines through the pages, but so does the heartache at difficulties and failings. I kept thinking of Jenna as I read this book; she's another person who had a dream to live a life different than the one she was raised with, and just went for it. In some ways their stories are quite similar.

rated: 3/5 ........ 257 pages, 2003

more opinions at:
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bermudaonion said...

I would have passed this one right by had I seen it, but you've made it sound like a book I'd love.

Jeane said...

My own copy has no cover; it was the title that made me curious. It wasn't at all what I expected but I liked it much better than I thought I would have. A good read!

Jenny said...

Oh dear, does he lose the ranch in the end? Is that why it's not happy?

Jeane said...

Yeah, but -SPOILER- he also discovers that he loves the work and is happy just to be a hired hand on someone else's ranch. It was just too much responsibility when he didn't have the experience of growing up on/running a ranch before. So I think the ending was actually happy, just there were lots of difficult parts before he got there.

Trish said...

This one actually sounds quite interesting to me! My in-laws are ranchers and so I always feel like a bit of an outsider when around them as I'm more of a city gal (when we lived out there the 45 minute drive Walmart about killed me). Think this one would provide some interesting perspective.