National Velvet is not what I thought it would be In fact, it was one of the disheartening books I ve read in a while My issue is with the style and content of the story because the overall plot is just dandy i. e. , girl trains horse to become a race champion Awesome Let s start at the beginning, shall we My problems with it started on page 1 And yet, I thought that it must get better It s a children s classic, right So it has to be good Or not, depending on who you are. So, page 1 My first hurdle to get over was the writing style It s different than almost any other book I ve read, thus, it was hard to just fall into the story seamlessly Believe me, I ve read a LOT of books, and classic literature is a personal fort of mine I ll all From BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Drama Fourteen year old Velvet is mad about horses She knows there are pleasures earlier than love Earlier than love, nearer heaven in the form of horses. When she wins a piebald horse in a raffle, she recognises he s something special He can easily clear five foot fences, and he ll do anything for her Soon, she and butcher s assistant Mi have their sights set on the biggest race in England But how can a girl in 1930s England get near Aintree Peter Flannery rescues National Velvet from Hollywood, returning 14 year old Velvet to her Sussex butcher s family in the 1930s A welcome return for Enid Bagnold s strange, inventive fairytale about a young amateur girl rider who takes an unt Butcher S Daughter In A Small Sussex Town Ends Her Nightly Prayers With Oh, God, Give Me Horses, Give Me Horses Let Me Be The Best Rider In England The Answer To Year Old Velvet Brown S Plea Materializes In The Form Of An Unwanted Piebald, Raffled Off In A Village Lottery, Who Turns Out To Be Adept At Jumping Fences Exactly The Sort Of Horse That Could Win The World S Most Famous Steeplechase, The Grand NationalRichly Atmospheric Of Rural Life In Ê National Velvet ¾ Download by Ê Enid Bagnold England Between The World Wars, National Velvet Has Enchanted Generations Of Readers Since Its Debut The Heroine S Grit And Determination, Backed By The Support Of Her Eccentric And Loving Family, Offer An Inspiring Example Of The Struggles And Rewards Of Following A Dream The Book Is One That Horse Lovers Of Every Age Cannot Fail To Enjoy The New York Times Humorous, Charming, National Velvet Is A Little Masterpiece Time Put On Your Not To Be Missed List The New Yorker This may be one of the strangest books ever written I first read it when I was eleven or so and didn t understand it Quite frankly I still don t Is it a slice of life book Is it a race book The race speeds by so fast page time is given to the media than to the race and yet the entire novel turns on those few pages It s odd The first half of the book is purely a family story, and that has its very odd moments, too Lots of the older girls looking like golden greyhounds and being beautiful and Velvet looking boyish or like Dante huh Lots of Donald being well impossible Lots of inadvertently hilarious mealtimes And some passing commentary that never fails to make me raise an eyebrow The Browns loved Jacob the dog as Not long ago, I read Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons written in the 1930s and set in rural England, just like this novel There was an illuminating introduction to that book, in which the editor explained how Gibbons was parodying a writing style and subject matter popular in that era If you ve read any D. H Lawrence you will have a feeling for what I m referring to the inarticulate but powerful Nature of women and that sort of thing I couldn t help think of that essay when I read this book It is an exceedingly strange book in some ways, and not really meant for children You could probably give it to an eccentric 12 year old who is a sophisticated reader Nor it is really about horses, although the dramatic climax of the book has 14 year old Velvet disguised as a boy winning the Grand National on an appallingly muddy and foggy course Really, the book is about f Though I ve treasured this since I was 12, I d completely forgotten to include it here until Flicka s lyrical narration on the Hallmark Channel sent me scrambling for book excerpts online thru red, swollen eyes, of course hey it s a horse flick which led to a lovely Velvet detour And what a lovely book it is yes, yes, the triumph of the human spirit and all that, which, by the way, can never be overdone in children s or YA or ANY literature for that matter but Enid Bagnold laid it all out with solid characterizations, just the right pith and passion and all the good feels Now can we talk about how incredible THAT movie was Ü National Velvet Ü I really liked this book Sometimes, I just can t stand books written in old style writing, but I just adored National Velvet The characters, the plot, the descriptions it was all just very well done. First off, Velvet is a fourteen year old girl who aspires to become the best rider in England and win the Grand National The amazing thing is, she actually does itNow who wouldn t love such a heroine She s very sweet and innocent, but very determined and she loves her family, and of course Mi and her horse. The story itself was well laid out how Velvet wins Pie, trains him, and the excitment of the Grand National And the author didn t go overboard with the details, but laid them out in an interesting way. This is obviously a classic for horse lovers, but consider reading it even if you don t love horses.
One of the best books ever written about childhood, adulthood and all the days in between Horse lovers will of course find this fascinating, but it s a book that s much than a horse book It s a book about family and relationships and knowing your own self and others I can t recommend it too highly. A very quick review as I m going away tomorrow. Not an easy book to classify, but I will go with young adult because of Velvet Brown s age She was fourteen I love the interaction of the Brown family and found them all very easy to relate to I loved seeing a young girl follow her dreams But I did find too much just too improbable and I found the book poorly structured it took till chapter 7 to get going and with distractions like view spoiler the other five horses hide spoiler How do you rate a book like this It s marketed as a children s book, but when I read it as a pre teen there s no way I got all the subtleties that the author works into her themes It was written in 1935, so of course it s aged While I was reading the book, I was very aware that I was being given a slice of life for a way that people don t live any How many people even know what butchering is, much less what it would be like to live in front of a kill yard There s nowhere I know that would give kids candy bars on credit with the kids carefully tallying up what they owe for when they have the money The rural way of life, in which most dogs aren t pets, your pony is your means of transportation instead of your hobby, and the village is a long walk away all pretty much gone. National Velvet is about a girl and her horse, that s true enough But it s also a
About The Author
British writer of novels and plays, best known for National Velvet and The Chalk Garden.For information, please see