Friday, October 16, 2015

Book Review: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Title: Black Beauty
Series: -
Author: Anna Sewell
Genre: Children's Classic
Publisher: Puffin Books
Publish Date: 2015 (First published in Puffin Books 1954) (First published 1877)
Pages: 263

Book blurb: As a young colt, Black Beauty gallops in the fresh green meadows with his beloved mother, Duchess, and their kind master. But when his owners are forced to sell him he swaps a life of freedom and happiness for one of work and toil. Black Beauty has an unbreakable spirit and a strong will, but is it enough to survive...?

Overall rate: ★★★☆☆ (3.3 out of 5)

Book cover: 3/5

Story plot: 4/5

Characters: 3.5/5

Language: 3/5

Book's world: 3/5

Favourite excerpt from the book:

Our friend stood still for a moment, and throwing his head a little back, "Do you know why this world is as bad as it is?"

"No," said the other.

"Then I'll tell you. It is because people think only about their own business, and won't trouble themselves to stand up for the oppressed nor bring the wrong-doer to light. I never see a wicked things like this without doing what I can, and many a master has thanked me for letting him know how his horses have been used."

"I wish there were more gentlemen like you, sir," said Jerry, "for they are wanted badly enough in this city."

After this we continued our journey, and as they got out of the cab, our friend was saying, "My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt."

I have absolutely no idea about anything related to horses. I have seen them from a few metres away, but I have never stand next to them. I have never touched any horse or even ridden one. So, basically, I went through Black Beauty with zero knowledge about them.

Reading Black Beauty was never a plan of mine, I did it because of a coursework. One of the subjects that I'm taking is literature, so I'm required to read Black Beauty. I had no objections, because this could be the start for me to read classic books. But somehow, it took me around four months to finish the book. I guess I procrastinated a lot, because it took me more than three months for the first part of the story, but I flew through the second till fourth part in only three hours. Yes, three simple hours. I could have finished the book in less than a day if I had been more diligent in reading.

Black Beauty tells the readers about the life of a black horse, from when he was only young till he grew up to become a fine horse, through his own point of view. This is my first time reading from the point of view of an animal, and surprisingly, it was not that bad. I got to delve further into the emotions and feelings of the horses.

His journey started in Farmer Grey's farm, where he lived with his mother, Duchess. He was then sold to Squire Gordon and lived at Birtwick for quite a long time, growing to become a very strong horse. At Birtwick, all was well. He had his friends (Ginger, Merrylegs and Sir Oliver), a kind-hearted caretaker, John and Joe, and a nice master. But when their mistress fell ill and had to move to a new place, Black Beauty and Ginger were sold to a new master, while Merrylegs found a new place to spend the rest of his life. In the new place, Black Beauty started learning the hardships that could happen in a horse life, and eventually he was sold to a new master. He was separated from Ginger.

He changed from hand to hand, and most of the new masters were cruel. They did not care about his health, hygiene and even his food. He was overworked and was injured a lot because of human's ignorance. One of the only good master that he had after Squire Gordon was Jerry Barker, a London cab driver. He took great care of Black Beauty, and Black Beauty loved Jerry. He was reunited once with Ginger, but Ginger's condition was really bad. And shortly after their meeting, Ginger died.

When Jerry too, fell ill, Black Beauty was sold to corndealer and baker, before going to a large cab owner. After being forced with so much work, Black Beauty collapsed because of being overworked and was sold in an auction. A farmer bought him and nursed him back to health before selling him to three ladies in Blomefields, where he lived permanently. He was reunited with his old caretaker, Joe Green, and he was more than happy to spend the rest of his life in Blomefields.

All in all, it was a great experience reading Black Beauty. I always have a soft spot for animals inside me, and Black Beauty touched me. I actually cried in a few parts, especially when he was treated badly. Black Beauty made me realise more that humans are at fault in many things, especially regarding the animals. We take things for granted, and we never cared for everyone else. I hope more people, especially in my country, would read Black Beauty and other stories like this. We need to change if we want this world to become better.

Stop animal cruelty, they deserve to be loved too.

Till next time ♡ Love, Humaira

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