Raised in a loving, middle-class family, with high expectations for success, Paige is a sensitive yet bright young girl full of ambition. Beginning to struggle with immense insecurity, Paige is magnetized to the peaceful presence of a horse who soothes the part of her that no one knows is hurting. By the time Paige is seventeen, she is in the throes of grappling with an invisible illness under the guise of teenage rebellion, shattering her sense of self-worth. Failing to meet her parents' expectations as she once did, Paige relies heavily on her beloved horse, Tiny. Her ambition to become an Olympic rider provides her with purpose, enough to survive the chaos brewing within her once peaceful home. While working towards her escape to an elite riding facility in California, which she believes will be a crucial step towards her development as a rider and a means to flee her family, Tiny suffers a serious injury to his leg and his survival comes into question. When Tiny pulls through despite stacked odds, Paige experiences a spiritual awakening, utilizing her ambition to battle the storm of her inner world. Beginning to recognize the parallels between Tiny's physical trauma and her psychological trauma, she discovers that she must face her mental illness to experience freedom. During this fight, she comes to know that she has had inherent worth all along; finding her greatest accomplishment in not what, but who she has become.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 6 out of 10
Character/Execution: 7 out of 10
Overall: 6.75 out of 10
Idea/Concept: This heartfelt and painful memoir recounts Lammers's teenage struggles with emotional regulation and an eventual diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. The author movingly describes her lifelong love of riding and caring for horses--a consistent source of comfort and solace as she navigates the tumultuous world of BPD.
Prose: Lammers's writing is at its strongest when describing her relationship with her horse, Tiny, and the peace she finds through riding him. Less consistent in quality are her descriptions of her emotional struggles, while expository passages and dialogue are often unpolished, awkward, and strained.
Originality: Lammers's path toward wholeness and recovery is uniquely her own. The author's passion for riding and her personal quest to understand her emotional vulnerability, are vividly explored.
Execution: Despite lackluster exposition and thin dialogue, Lammers--who emerges as both sympathetic and empathetic--ultimately tells an inspiring story of personal growth and human-animal bonding.
Date Submitted: January 25, 2020