Sunday, February 15, 2015

Falling from Horses by Molly Gloss

I have long loved Molly Gloss' stories. Her way of writing captures my imagination and enlivens my mind to create images of the text. She is an Oregon writer, lives right here in Portland, and wrote Wild Life and The Jump-Off Creek among others. I always read her work slowly....a serious sign that I love the book.

Falling from Horses is set in the late 1930's. Bud, a young man eager to get away from his home ranch and explore Hollywood and the moving picture lifestyle. He hopes to make it big on the screen, figuring he can ride his way into pictures as a stunt rider. Although times are pretty tight (I think the word tight meant superslim wiggle room where money is concerned back then), Bud finds his way from being beat up in the middle of the night sleeping in a giant park in LA to working with the horses that were filmed in movies. His first Hollywood friend, Lily Shaw, stays important to Bud throughout the book, and their relationship as friends and lives as individuals revolves around and centers on movies. Bud is a steady character, slowly finding his way newly on his own and figuring out how to date (sort of), make a living (sort of kind of), and make the best choices he can(hmmmm). Gloss brings her best in this story, helping us almost live in Bud's shoes, particularly when the story touches into the deep well of family. Bud's ranching family who also lives hard-scrabble lives, and loss and love intertwine at the slowly intentional speed of hard work and hard living often found on ranches of the times. The story indeed takes Bud home again; I won't spoil a thing here about why or how.

Gloss helps me live into that inner cowgirl that lives inside of me. I have read The Jump-Off Creek a number of times and may return to it soon after reading Falling From Horses. Loved it, just loved it. 

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