Review: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell


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The gentle thoroughbred, Black Beauty, is raised with care and is treated well until a vicious groom injures him. The damaged horse is then sold to various masters at whose hands he experiences cruelty and neglect. After many unpleasant episodes, including one where he becomes a painfully overworked cab horse in London, Black Beauty finally canters towards a happy ending. Although Anna Sewell’s classic is set firmly in the Victorian period, its message is universal and timeless: animals will serve humans well if they are treated with consideration and kindness.

I’m actually not sure, but this could be a re-read for me. I distinctly remember having a Ladybird copy of Black Beauty as a child, but I don’t remember actually reading it. And not much about this book felt familiar. When I started this book, my first thought was how there could be an entire book from the perspective of a horse? Well, Anna Sewell wrote that book.

I honestly didn’t think that I would be able to get into this at first. I mostly listened to the audiobook, and then read the last 40 pages in the physical format. But I persevered, and actually quite enjoyed it in the end. The part of this book that shocked me was how educational I found it. This book talks extensively about horse terminology and tack, which I feel like could have put me off as a child but I actually found it quite insightful now.

We call them dumb animals, and so they are,

The most important part of this story was the moral of be kind to animals, which I adored. The more I think about the moral of this story, the more I absolutely love what it aimed to portray. The focus on how the surroundings and treatment of the animals could change how they felt about life was incredibly well written and portrayed well. I ended up feeling so many emotions for Black Beauty that I had full on body tingles at the end of the story!

I think what let this book down for me was the pacing. I just didn’t feel like there was enough of a story there to fill so many pages. I found that throughout the book, I kept coming back to this point. Even though this book does have many parts to it and the story definitely does develop, I did feel some of the story was reiterated a few times throughout.

for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words.

I imagine I would have enjoyed this as a child, but when I was old enough to be able to understand all of the terminology! I really liked the morals of this story, but it didn’t quite capture my attention as much as I was hoping.

3.5 out of 5 stars


May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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