When she was eleven years old, Rita began to run away. Her father's violence and her mother's hostility drove her out of the house and into the streets in search of a better life. Read more...
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When she was eleven years old, Rita began to run away. Her father's violence and her mother's hostility drove her out of the house and into the streets in search of a better life. This soon led her into a dangerous world of drugs, predatory older men, and the occasional kindness of strangers, but despite the dangers, Rita kept running. One day she came upon a field of horses galloping along a roadside fence, and the sight of them gave her hope. The memory of their hoofbeats stayed with her.
Rita survives her harrowing childhood to become a prize-winning writer and the wife of a promising surgeon. But when she is suddenly besieged by terrifying panic attacks, her past trauma threatens her hard-won happiness and the stable, comfortable life she's built with her husband. Within weeks, she is incapacitated with fear--literally afraid of her own shadow. Realizing that she is facing a life of psychological imprisonment, Rita undertakes a journey to find help through a variety of treatments. It is ultimately through chasing her childhood passion for horses that she meets a spirited, endearing horse named Claret--with his own troubled history--and together they surmount daunting odds as they move toward fear and learn to trust, and ultimately save, each other.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-08-04
- Reviewer: Staff
A bond with a troubled horse helps a woman overcome a legacy of abuse and exploitation in this alternately harrowing and luminous confessional memoir. Chin, a poet and essayist, grew up in a deeply dysfunctional family, viciously beaten by her wrathful dad and disowned by her unstable mother. She began running away at age thirteen and was soon dividing her time between institutions and the streets, where she slipped into a life of drugs and prostitution. She left it behind in adulthood with a writing career and marriage to a neurosurgeon but suddenly came down with panic attacks that left her terrified of showering, climbing staircases, driving and almost everything else. After an unhelpful tour of therapeutic regimens, she sought relief by learning to ride and understand a horse with its own unfathomable anxieties. Chin's story moves between nerve-wracking yet never overplayed episodes of violence and degradation in her youth, and the quiet, baffling tensions of her adult neuroses. Twining through it are lyrical, exuberant scenes lit by her abiding "belief that there was beauty to be had in this world." The result is a haunting yet hopeful saga that shows how trauma and fear can transform themselves into enduring strength. (June)