Sydney AveyDynamic Women — Changing Times
Book Review: The Longest Trail
Young girls seem to obsess about one of three pastimes that serve as rites of passage from adolescence to adulthood. They are stirred by ballet, horses, or boys. Roni McFadden writes a well-crafted memoir that chronicles her experience with horses. The Longest Trail, A True Story has appeal even if you aren’t a “horse person,” which I am not. Still, I was fascinated by the bond she formed with the different trail horses her mentor, John Slaughter, gave her access to.
There is much to love in this book. It is heartening to know that there are men in this world who see a young girl struggling and give her a hand up simply because they are good, kind, compassionate people. Also, anyone who has ever looked into the soulful eyes of a horse senses that they are magnificent creatures. The author shows us why.
Learning Resilience on The Longest Trail
McFadden came of age in the Sixties. For a number of reasons that she explains in the book, she was allowed great freedom and responsibility at an early age. The combination of attention from a well-meaning mentor who trained her and held her accountable and her consuming love for horses, self-discipline, and ability to learn from mistakes taught her resilience.
The section of the book devoted to the shenanigans of the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll flower children made me uncomfortable, as it did when I experienced it. But it was well written and more celebratory of the sense of freedom and joy of relationships than it was of getting wasted. Our heroine survived and lived to write about it.
© Sydney Avey