“God of Animals” is set in rural Colorado against a backdrop of the horse show circuit. Alice Winston, seventh grader, is trying to figure out life. Her sister ran away with a childhood sweetheart a year ago, her mother won’t leave the bedroom, and her father is just trying to keep food on the table and pay the bills. We are introduced to a collage of other characters who weave their way in and out of the story – Sheila, Ruby, Jack, Patty Jo, the “Catfish”, Mrs. Altman, the Pope boys. Every character plays a crucial part in the storyline and Kyle does an impressive job of developing the characters so the reader cares about them. More than the human characters, though, Kyle develops the horses as well. Extensions of the people in the story, the horses have their own successes and defeats. Aryn Kyle knows the power of a good first line, and the first line of “God of Animals” is:
“Six months before Polly Cain drowned in the canal, my sister, Nona, ran off and married a cowboy.”
I enjoyed “God of Animals” and would recommend to anyone who likes a story told well. After the last paragraph, I left the book feeling like something was missing from the story. It wasn’t that it ended differently than I hoped it would – it was a mix of a happy and sad ending. Things just happened like they should have happened. I think that I was missing from the story. Books I have read that I can’t put down draw me into the storyline and I lose track of the world around me. I was never drawn in, never a part of the lives of Alice, or Polly, or Joe Winston. They were in Colorado and I was in Florida, and that never changed.