It may surprise you to learn that there are over seven million horses in America—even more than when they were the only means of transportation—and nearly two million horse owners. Journalist and avid equestrian Sarah Maslin Nir is one of them; she began riding horses when she was just two years old and hasn't stopped since. Horse Crazy is a love letter to these graceful animals and the people who are obsessed with them.
... a delightful tour of equine history ... Nir writes for those who know, but she also ropes in a broader audience by bringing humor, sensitivity and journalistic fervor to horse culture—American, mostly, although not solely ... Over and over, her identity as a horse person has delivered her from life’s anguishes, including a terrifying knife attack. The details of some of these difficult experiences feel like the least natural parts of the book. While they provide a glimpse into the healing power of horse love, in several instances they also subject secondary characters to judgment that feels incompletely earned. I felt as if I was getting both too much information and too little about some of the more painful interpersonal conflicts. On the other hand, Nir is fully persuasive and entertaining when describing a particular horse or a memorable riding experience ... I was completely charmed and stunned by a chapter on Breyer, the gold standard of plastic model horses ... Nir’s journalistic journey into the subculture of adult collectors is poignant and illuminating ... a reliable survey of the ways we have invested in, exploited and befriended these beautiful beasts. The book probably can’t make a reader who doesn’t 'get it' feel the human infatuation with horseflesh. For everyone else, it is a reminder that horses go a long way in making planet Earth a nicer place to be.
A delightful journey and summer 2020 must-read for equestrians everywhere! ... a fun ride through nearly every facet of the horse world ... readers are treated to tales of Nir riding Marwaris in India while working as a freelancer writing about spas and luxury vacations ... Nir’s writing is simultaneously lean, with few if any extra words, yet poetic. Each chapter is seamlessly woven together but could still stand alone as a short story and the book as a whole is endlessly compelling, yet something that can be put aside for a day or so and picked back up without losing the thread.
Not surprisingly, her writing is energetic, exquisite and enthralling enough to appeal to both horse fanatics and more casual readers alike ... Reminiscent of Susan Orlean’s The Library Book in its fascinating examination of a singular topic, Horse Crazy is an expertly crafted, wrenchingly honest memoir.