The Horse Whisperer

by Nicholas Evans

Hardcover, 1995

Call number





Delacorte Press (1995), 404 pages


A forty-ton truck hurtles out of control on a snowy country road, a teenage girl on horseback in its path. In a few terrible seconds the life of a family is shattered. And a mother's quest begins--to save her maimed daughter and a horse driven mad by pain. It is an odyssey that will bring her to The Horse Whisperer. He is the stuff of legend. His voice can calm wild horses and his touch heals broken spirits. For secrets uttered softly into pricked and troubled ears, such men were once called Whisperers. Now Tom Booker, the inheritor of this ancient gift, is to meet his greatest challenge. Annie Graves has traveled across a continent with her daughter, Grace, and their wounded horse, Pilgrim, to the Booker ranch in Montana. Annie has risked everything--her career, her marriage, her comfortable life--in her desperate belief that the Whisperer can help them. The accident has turned Pilgrim savage. He is now so demented and dangerous that everyone says he should be destroyed. But Annie won't give up on him, for she feels his fate is inextricably entwined with that of her daughter, who has retreated into a heartrending, hostile silence. Annie knows that if the horse dies, something in Grace will die too. In the weeks to come, under the massive sky of the Rocky Mountain Front, all their lives--including Tom Booker's--will be transformed forever in a way none could have foretold. At once an epic love story and a gripping adventure, The Horse Whisperer weaves an extraordinary tale of healing and redemption--a magnificent emotional journey that explores our ancient bonds with earth and sky and hearts untamed. It is a stirring elegy to the power of belief and self-discovery, to hopes lost and found again.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Audacity88
It succeeds as what it is meant to be - comfortable - by being predictable enough to soothe but dramatic enough not to bore. Since it requires no engagement of the critical faculty, this is a good book to read through all in one sitting. Just don't expect the pleasure to stay on once the last page has been turned.
LibraryThing member mrsrjd
I listened to the audio version of "The Horse Whisperer" by Nicholas Evans. I have not seen the movie and wasn't particularly interested in the book but my library has a limited amount of books on cassette so I met Annie, her daughter Grace, husband Robert, the whispering Tom Booker and of course the whispered-to, horse Pilgrim. By the end of the book I was sorry they had made my acquaintance.

My issue is not so much with Evans' writing ability as it is his stereotypical treatment of men and women. Indeed, the opening scenes of accident and trauma made me think I had the wrong impression of the story. But, it was all down hill from there. It turned out that Annie and Grace were victims of "my mother works" syndrome. It took removal from the big city and entry into the "aw shucks ma'am" country to bring them fulfillment. The addition of a handsome cowboy in the form of Tom Booker certainly didn't hurt either.

Evans allowed Annie to cry more than once in her journey to fulfillment - despite Annie's criticism of Robert's tears over their daughter's accident. Frankly, I wanted Annie to cry a lot more than she did, and I definitely didn't want her fulfilled. Annie was the main character in the story and I didn't like her at all. She was greedy, manipulative and selfish. Her awfulness might have been tolerable if she had been made to pay it. But Evans extracted no payment at all. Instead, she got everything she wanted. This result made me say "Ugh!" and rejoice when the final cassette was finished.
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LibraryThing member hippietrail
Formulaic bestseller stuff but I'm ashamed to say I couldn't put it down and it's one of the very few books I as a slow slow reader have read in a single sitting.
LibraryThing member fuzzi
I really enjoyed this book, about how people handle pain and loss, and survive. It grabbed me from the first ten or so pages, and I found it difficult to put down. My only complaint is that the author found it necessary to insert somewhat graphic descriptions of sex in several situations. Aside from that, it is recommended.
LibraryThing member ogopogo
i read this after watching the film - and as in 98% of all cases the book was better than the film. well worth a read but make such the box of tissues is not far away.
LibraryThing member FionaCat
Honestly, I enjoyed the movie much more than the book. The book was good up until the end; I think the ending in the film is much better than the lame one in the book.
LibraryThing member nm.fall07.h.pyatt
I really like the Horse Whisperer because it has powerful message to all ages. It shows how perseverance and hard work pays off in the long haul. I really like the main character Grace because she trys to be brave and not emotional, but she finally breaks down and realizes she cant stay to herself, she has to open up to people. I recommend this book to anyone, but it is probably not suitable for children under the age of fourteen, due to language and other adult situations.… (more)
LibraryThing member sarah-p
this book is just breath taking, i could'nt put it down, i read this after the movie but it so much better and the ending much more dramatic then the film, this was the first Nicholas Evans book i read but he's an amazing author,
LibraryThing member jayne_charles
This was like a splendidly written Mills and Boon. Feisty woman meets slightly-too-good-to-be-true love interest. There was the added complication of a husband (who was a really nice guy and frankly deserved better), and also a storyline involving an injured child and an injured and traumatised horse.

The writing was top notch, characters sketched with skill and confidence, and I also liked the totally superfluous gag about the girls on the subway discussing the meaning of dreams.

The scene where the horse's treatment reaches its conclusion was curious. Less whispering, more bashing with blunt instruments, and it left a funny taste in my mouth. But I know nothing about horses.
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LibraryThing member aimless22
The first chapter grabs tight and does not let go! Adventure, romance, coming of age all congregate in this wonderful novel by a gifted writer.
LibraryThing member BackyardHorse
As a life long horse person I found the book far more interesting, and believable than the movie adaption. If you are looking for a light entertaining read keep looking. Evens masterfully displays the terror of a horrific opening scene, and the long painful road back for a young girl and her horse.
LibraryThing member nocturnewytche
I am a horse lover hands down. I could not wrap my mind around why people love this book so much. I did enjoy it, but as the time goes in in the book it seems to become less and less about the horse and more about the people. The book started out so well but I feel it was just dropped after the first few chapters and steadily declined to downright boring from there. Not something I'd read again.… (more)
LibraryThing member PilgrimJess
Now I have got to admit that romances are really not my usual 'bag' and even when I bought the book the shop assistant told me to keep some hankies handy, normally a message to put it back on the shelf, but it had been recommended to me so I thought that I would give it a go. Although I remember the trailers for the film I have never actually seen it so had no real pre-conceptions in that way.

The description of the accident kickstarts this tale was so vivid and traumatic that I felt that I had no option but to read it all the way through in one go rather than attempt to come back to it. That said I felt that it was because it was well written rather than merely gratuitous. This also had the effect of you really feeling for the plight of both Grace and Pilgrim and just willing them to have a happy eventual outcome.

The relationship between Grace and her mother was well drawn, showing the difficulties that can arise between mother and teenage daughter,(especially so as the author is male) and on the whole I thought that all the charcterisations were well written. I felt for Grace, felt a little sorry for Robert who seemed a genuinely nice guy, Tom was so laid back it was hard to dislike him but I must admit I never could really take to Annie as I felt that she was something of a control freak. I also enjoyed both the desciptions of Tom's work with the horses as well as the scenery of rural Montana but felt that these were at times a little overblown.

What for me rather let the book down was the ending. It was heart-warming to see how well things turn out for Grace and Pilgrim and I had certainly not expected the demise of Tom but. Throughout the book the moral of the story seemed to be one of never give up, live for the day and grab your opportunities when they come along but in the end both for me Tom and Annie did give up and just accepted the hand life had dealt them.

Overall I enjoyed the book despite or maybe because it is not my usual sort of read and I did not need the hankies at any point. There was a good pace about the book and you certainly wanted to get to the end if only to see how things ended but in the final analysis it ended a little flat.
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LibraryThing member superphoenix
The initial chapters are interesting and captivating. Further on at some points the interest tends to ebb and the story seems to being stretched. The end is very tragic and had me nearly in tears. Overall worth reading.
LibraryThing member readingwithtea
"Sometimes what seems like surrender isn't surrender at all. It's about what's going on in our hearts."

Grace and Judith take their horses out on a snowy New York morning. A collision with a sleep-deprived trucker leaves one pair dead and a girl and horse fighting for their lives. Annie becomes convinced that her daughter's fate is inextricably linked with the fate of her horse, and tracks down a horse whisperer to heal the crippled equine. Soon it's not just the girl and the horse whose futures are linked...

Yes I know this is chick lit of the greatest degree - ponies, cowboys, "the massive Montana sky"... Skipping right along:

It is very obvious after about page 100 that it is Annie with whom we are supposed to sympathise - this is Annie's story, not Grace's. Grace becomes a truculent, wilful child who is irritating to her mother - instead of the scarred survivor we should see. Annie - well I have no patience with characters who commit adultery, so... I was never going to like her. Evans does convey a very credible character though - she is stressed, trying to do a good job (eventually, just trying to keep her job), doesn't understand why her child is resisting her helpful efforts, feels guilty for not being around more... I didn't really understand her relationship with Robert (Grace's dad) - there is an explanation of how they have got to where they are, but he seemed to just fade out of the picture once Annie and Grace went to Montana.

I quite enjoyed Tom's back-story and his reticence with actual humans, but could I shake the idea that his name was Robert Redford (I saw the film maybe 8 years ago?)? No. As a reviewer on Bookmooch pointed out, this book was written for film - there's pathetic fallacy and dark foreboding everywhere.

As for plot... the accident and the recovery are really a shell into which to tuck Annie and Tom's romance and Annie's reawakening as a country girl (or some sort of pretence thereat). And I don't get on brilliantly with this romance business, so to me it was all just a lot of talking and stuff.

Maybe 4/10 is a bit harsh - it achieves what it sets out to do. I just don't feel emotionally invested in any of the characters, like I did in Love Verb, intrigued by the interpersonal drama like I did in Touching Distance, or blown away by language and situation like in Bel Canto.
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LibraryThing member nordie
read not long after it's release, in part due to the record-setting advance given to the first time author.

And it's.....ok. Not brilliant (this was a novice after all!) but it could have been a lot lot worse. There was the occasional turn of phrase that I thought "Ooooh, could have done that better", but not many.

In short, a girl and her horse have an accident, and the mother seeks out a renowned "Horse Whisperer" to help the horse recover. In doing so, he helps heal the emotional and psyhcological scars that both the daughter and mother have built up over the years.
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LibraryThing member co_coyote
I found this in the beach house, and it was a welcome relief from the Fire Ant encyclopedia-like book I am currently reading. I remember the movie being excellent, and the book is every bit as good. I know I am saying this after the fact, but could anyone else possibly play Tom Booker *except* Robert Redford!? I think this book was written with the movie in mind.… (more)
LibraryThing member edspicer
There's plenty of realistic horse detail. You feel like you're actually there. The plot takes many turns.
4Q, 4P. Cover Art: Awesome!
The book is best suited for Highschoolers and Adults.
It was selected due to the interesting title.
Grade (of reviewer): 11th
LibraryThing member mamashepp
The book fleshes out the movie, but the movie was better
LibraryThing member mikedraper
This was my second reading of this book and I enjoyed it as much as the first time.

The story deals with a family dealing with a tragedy and what they do to overcome their difficulty.

A young girl, Grace, takes her horse, Pilgrim, for an early morning ride with her friend and her horse. On an icy road, they are struck by a truck driven by a man trying to save time and driving under unsafe conditions.

Grace's friend and the friend's horse are killed. Grace loses a leg and Pilgrim is severely injured.

Grace falls into a period of depression and her mother, Annie, learns of a horse doctor who might help Pilgrim. Tom Booker has a talent for dealing with horses, communicating with them and making them more accustomed to dealing with humans and for the humans to have the animal they loved once again.

This is also a love story between Annie and Tom and a coming of age novel between Grace and Tom's nephew.

The descriptions of ranch life in Montana are well done as if the relationship between characters.

I also enjoyed reading about Montana and comparing that to the hustle and bustle and back stabbing Annie experienced as an editor in New York.

The author takes an easy way out of the novel instead of delving into the question of what will happen between Tom and Annie.

Overall, a nicely done, romantic novel.
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LibraryThing member mamashepp
The book fleshes out the movie, but the movie was better
LibraryThing member BookConcierge
This is a gripping story, hard to put down. But I'm not sure the mother was completely believable. A long book but a fast read. A long book, but a fast read. Broken "hearts;" remote and closed off emotions; brought forward by an unusual man who "whispers" to horses. The ending is somewhat contrived (though not nearly so much so as the movie). If you've seen the movie ... the ending is completely different (and better) in the book.… (more)
LibraryThing member DebbieMcCauley
A traumatic accident whilst riding her horse Pilgrim, leaves Grace an amputee and her friend Judith, along with horse Gulliver, dead. Pilgrim is severely injured, psychologically damaged and uncontrollable. As Grace, workaholic magazine editor mother Annie, and lawyer father Robert go through the healing process, Pilgrim's progress, or lack of it, reflects the family's lack of healing. Annie refuses to allow Pilgrim to be put down, and instead consults a 'horse whisperer', Tom Booker. Grace, Annie and Pilgrim travel across the country in the hope that Tom can help.

Being on the ranch is good for them all but Annie and Tom become intimate and when Grace finds out she recklessly off into the wilderness. Tom, knowing that he cannot have Annie, but neither can he live without her, rides after Annie with his brother. The leader of a herd of wild mustangs challenges Pilgrim and they fight whilst Grace is left cowering in the background. Tom deliberately places himself in harms way, becoming fatally wounded by the hooves of the stallion.

Grace, Annie and Pilgrim return to New York to rebuild their life with Robert who has been told the truth. Annie discovers she is pregnant, finally giving birth to a baby with Tom's blue eyes.

I really liked this book, however I would have rather the author stuck with Grace and Pilgrim's story which would have made a fantastic book for young adults. Instead, Annie and Tom's story takes over which is a shame and feels like it was unnecessary. Would like to see a young adults version come out focused on Grace, Pilgrim and more of the techniques used by a 'horse whisperer'.
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LibraryThing member KarenAJeff
I enjoyed this book until they started getting all romantic, and the ending is a bummer. I wanted to know more about the horse and the techniques used to tame him.
LibraryThing member AliceAnna
What a crock. This whole book was romanticized dreck. And I'm supposed to identify/sympathize with an adulterous, self-centered, egotistical bitch? It made it no easier that her husband was a great guy and she didn't for a minute think of her daughter's needs when she entered into the affair. Didn't do it for me.




0385315236 / 9780385315234


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