Sep 30, 2009

emptying the query bin

It has been so long! I have collected such an entertaining variety of search queries, I thought it was time to reveal a select few.

wildfire based on thoroughbred
This is a popular one, and I'm not quite sure if the blog helped this idea along or if it was originally out there to begin with.

best sex novel ever

a romance novel including a man who lives on a farm
This sounds like the most intellectually stimulating romance novel in the history of the world.

are racing stripes stupid?
I once knew a man who put racing stripes on his car. Only they were made out of duct tape. I think that's the only time racing stripes are awesome. When you are openly mocking them, that is.

australian men are assholes
I believe you!

booked in jail strip search thong
I cannot help but wonder what this is all about. Also, I am curious how it landed them here. (ETA: Nevermind. I totally know how this landed them here.)

can i buy drover run farm in australia
Again, we're having issues with separating fiction from fact. It's such a trial, you guys.

can jessica burkhart ride horses? and did jessica burkhart learn to ride horses at the stable behind her house
Apparently Jessica has a bit of a cyberstalker. Fun!

down syndrome romance farm movie
Again, sounds like a fascinating romance. I am so fascinated.

do sandy and stripes mate in racing stripes?
Yes, because in the middle of a children's movie the two main animal characters are going to get it on. Totally logical.

how can you use "willow" in an exclamatory sentence?

how should i use last brain cells
Okay, this one wins.

how to reenact pretty woman
Personally, I love the questions the most.

i love the 80s daterape movie
I also love the random declarations.

stalking used to be acceptable
I know! What ever happened to this wonderful pastime?

what should i do if a boy tells me i am stalking him?
Sweetie, the appropriate thing to do is deny, deny, deny. And then suck it up and move on, because obviously you've really creeped him out.

what would happen if christina reese got pregnant
Personally, I got a kick out of this one. Also, I can't remember it ever being addressed in fanfic. Or this could be because I ignored most Christina fanfic. (Yes, Thoroughbred fanfic about Christina existed! Be amazed!)

brad townsend ashleigh griffin sex

Upcoming reviews:
Bug Boy by Eric Luper
Homestretch by Paul Volponi
The Georges and the Jewels by Jane Smiley
Star's Chance, Thoroughbred #45

Sep 19, 2009

Seriously, who thought this was a good idea?

Conformation Faults
Pine Hollow #5

Friends don't keep secrets from friends, do they? But now it seems that everyone is hiding something. Callie Forester has things that she doesn't want people back home to know. But when an old friend betrays her, Callie has to wonder if any secret is worth keeping.

Impressions (Because I can't in good faith call this a review):

I genuinely don't remember a lot of this book, because I sort of skimmed through it several weeks ago and never bothered to write a review after what I managed to learn from my bored glancing.

Know this: everyone is annoying. Lisa is trying to keep it under wraps that she ever entertained the possibility of staying in California, because she is scared of her asshole boyfriend's possible reaction. Stevie, not understanding how awful her brother is in general, is threatening to tell. Carol is stupidly focused on Samson to the point that she doesn't bother to clean out Starlight's water every hour (horrors), and on the off chance that she remembers to go to school, she's cheating on her tests because she appears to spend most of her time riding Samson or thinking about riding Samson. Callie is trying to decide if she was ever friends with this Sheila girl (maybe that was her name? If not, they're basically mortal enemies, so the answer is no). Phil's friend is stubbornly refusing to be functional, causing chaos while he does an impressive display of not caring whilst playing loud music in his room. How dare he act like a normal teenager! God!

Basically it's like a very serious, drawn out Saved by the Bell episode with horses. That isn't as funny as you might think.

And that, my friends, is a Whitebrook Farm Blog non-review.

Sep 18, 2009

I imagine being named Tex in Oklahoma would be a hardship.


I never knew this before, but Matt Dillon is in three movie adaptations of S.E. Hinton novels: The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, and Tex. From this I assume that Matt Dillon was the perfect portrayal of all poor, white males everywhere in the eighties. I've only read one S.E. Hinton novel, Taming the Star Runner, and from the info I gleaned from that book, a young Matt Dillon would have been perfect for the role.

Also, from Taming the Star Runner and this adaptation of Tex, I think S.E. Hinton novels are hilarious. In that the plot's going along true to normal YA conventions, and then suddenly there are drug dealers! And guns! And serious injuries! And seriousness! Oh my god!

So I find seriousness amusing. I can't help it.

That said, I'm reviewing Tex because the main character loves his horse, and his brother sells his horse because they are poor. And their father is a rodeo clown, or something, and refuses to come home and be an adult. And Tex doesn't know how far to go with a girl, only to be helpfully told by his brother that the girl will tell him when to stop. Yes, all responsibility thrown onto the girl. As always. Nicely played, Tex's brother.

The deal here is this. Mason is the responsible brother, and Tex is the brother who is slightly ditsy and loves his horse. To feed them, Mason sells the horses and Tex goes ballistic. They get into a groping fight on the kitchen floor. Two-liter sodas are thrown at walls, Mason lands a punch, and Tex runs off to search the Oklahoma country for his horse. This doesn't work out for him, because hiking around on foot in search of a horse that has been sold is clearly a waste of time.

Things happen that I don't really care about because I didn't. Only at one point Matt Dillon and Emilio Estevez make eyes at each other across a patch of Oklahoma dust used for dirt biking. The music swells. Will they ever be friends again? Will that boy with the flowing long hair and the pink comb get between them? Will Emilio crash his bike after taking off on a dare? (Yes.) Will Matt be awesome on the same bike afterward? (Yes.) Will they get back to being friends again, despite Emilio's father's disapproval? (Yes!) Sweet, sweet teenage love.

Oh, um. Tex is supposed to be in love with Emilio's sister, Jaime? I guess? Anyway. Things are going along fairly normally, to YA standards. A fortune teller even tells Tex that he isn't going to get his horse back, much to his chagrin. And then they, in true S.E. Hinton fashion, pick up a hitchhiker. And he pulls a gun on them. Shocker. I was so shocked.

Tex saves the day, and the hitchhiker is shot dead by the police. After this, more drama ensues with the return of rodeo clown dad, which means that Tex has to discover that he is not the biological son of rodeo clown dad. (Honestly, he should be thrilled with this.) Dad decides to buy back Tex's horse, which has been sold to a Christina character. The Christina character tells him that the horse is hers. Fair and square, damn it! Who the hell is he to just walk into her residential backyard and stare at her as she jumps fences? Christina informs him that she has renamed the horse Gentleman, and Tex is disgusted, as most would be in the face of such snobbery. So he gets together with this drug dealer friend, which naturally ends in Tex getting shot in the stomach.

So he wanders around a little bit, bleeding all over his shoes. Unexpected, maybe. Or maybe this is what all Oklahoma kids do? Having been raised in northwest Arkansas, I surprisingly don't know the answer to this. Sadly.

Anyway, Tex survives. And everything is okay. He gets a job at a horse farm. And his brother goes to college in Indiana. And, um, it was uplifting or something?

Sep 4, 2009

Casting Call: "Secretariat"

Secretariat got the green light what seems like ages ago, and now it's finally steamrolling ahead. Filming begins at the end of this month, and it should finally be in theaters next year. (Okay, I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for a Secretariat movie and I might be besides myself that it is finally happening and I don't even care if it might be awful. It is a movie about Secretariat. The only thing that could be better is a movie based on Thoroughbred. THINK ABOUT IT, HOLLYWOOD.)

Scripted by Mike Rich, this is about the 1973 Triple Crown-winning racehorse and its owner, Penny Chenery (Diane Lane). Chenery was a mother and housewife who knew little about horses when she was pressed to take over her ailing father's horse farm in Virginia. Though Secretariat came along and began to take shape as a potential champion, Chenery was pressured to sell the farm after her father died and she was hit with a multimillion-dollar inheritance tax. She saved both the farm and the horse, and watched as Secretariat became the first thoroughbred to win the Triple Crown in 25 years, taking the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes in dominating fashion. Chenery became known as the "first lady of racing."

Casting call for Secretariat is next week in Louisville and Lexington. Read about the details here!

Sep 1, 2009

Book Rec: Wild Girl by Patricia Reilly Giff

Wild Girl
Patricia Reilly Giff

Lidie lives in Brazil. She's a wild girl who rides and dreams of one day going to live with her father and older brother in New York. Lidie's mother died long ago. When Lidie is twelve, it's time to leave for Queens, New York, where her father runs a stable at a famous racetrack and her brother is training to be a jockey.

Meanwhile, a foal is born on a farm and starts its journey to a new home. As Lidie's story unfolds, so does the tale of this filly.

When Lidie arrives in New York, she discovers that settling into her new world is a big challenge. And that her loving father and brother still think of her as the little girl they left behind. They don't even know what a strong rider she is. She must show them the real Lidie: she'll befriend, and ride, the filly her father just bought--Wild Girl.

The Review:
I've complained about a lot when it comes to middle grade horse fiction. Irritating main characters, predictable stories, super fantastic horses, antagonists with little to no purpose...the list just goes on and on. So here's when I say something a little out of character for me: Wild Girl should be on the reading lists of every aspiring or established author of horsey fiction.

It's not that it's amazing. It's just a good story, centered on a likable girl with realistic problems that have nothing to do with a horse of her own plot. The horse in question is not the second coming of every wonder horse in fiction. She's just a young filly that doesn't quite know what's expected of her, and is as equally scared as she is curious. Like most horses in the world.

Lidia arrives in New York knowing little English, and hardly knowing the father and brother that arrive to meet her. There is enough understandable awkwardness to go around, and Lidie is left feeling about as cold as the New York winter she's suddenly walked into from her Brazilian sunshine. It doesn't help matters that her family remembers her as a seven-year-old girl, obsessed with Disney and the color pink. Lidie's done some growing up, and these things were cast aside years ago, but she hasn't grown up enough to come out and easily tell her father and brother who she is, what she likes, and what she's capable of.

To make matters worse, nothing is exactly easy for Lidia on her first day of school. Language barriers create some horrifying memories, and she bolts, convinced that she's never going to fit in. Poor Lidia's got a lot on her plate, so when they drive out to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to pick up a couple of horses, she finds a bit of a kindred spirit in Wild Girl, a filly that's been on a similar journey.

So, this is where I stop talking about the plot, because I really liked this one. In the end, filly and girl are both missing something. They eventually find what they're looking for. It's a sweet book, with none of the usual grating horse story components you'll usually find. To help matters, it's a quick, well-written read. For instance, this is a chapter:

The filly felt the taste of the strange food in her mouth long after she'd swallowed. It was a good taste, the taste of a field on a summer day.

One of the creatures had come into her space. The noises it made were soft. It had brushed her side until her skin rippled with its good feeling.

And when the creature had climbed up on her, the filly had barely felt its weight, just its warmth.

It was something....

It wasn't like being in the field with the other horses, but still...


So go find it and read it already.