From Audiobooks.com: “Black Beauty is a fictional autobiographical memoir told by a horse, who recounts many tales, both of cruelty and kindness. The title page of the first edition states that it was “Translated from the Original Equine by Anna Sewell.” It was composed in the last years of her life, during which she was confined to her house as an invalid. After its publication in 1877, Sewell lived just long enough to see her first and only novel become an immediate bestseller, as well as it encouraging the better treatment of many cruelly-treated animals.
Although initially intended for people who work with horses, it soon became a children’s classic. While outwardly teaching animal welfare, it also contains allegorical lessons about how to treat people with kindness, sympathy and respect. The story is narrated in the first person and each short chapter relates an incident in Black Beauty’s life, with Sewell’s detailed observations and extensive descriptions of horse behaviour lending the novel a good deal of verisimilitude.”
This was such a lovely story and one I don’t know why I haven’t listened to or read before? I imagine it’s because it’s a classic book and I’ve only recently just started listening to classics.
I loved the format of this book telling Black Beauty’s life story, from when he was a young foal until his last days of retirement, and of the people he lived and worked with.
He starts off in a loving home with his mother and then circumstances change for his humans and he moves around quite a bit. Unfortunately he isn’t always with people who know how to take care of him properly and we meet these men and women through Beauty’s eyes.
Jerry the London cabby is definitely my favourite owner later on in the story and as good an owner as the one at the beginning of the book. Alfred Smirk was a dreadful groom as was Reuben Smith, these men should not have been allowed anywhere near horses.
Captain an old war horse was an incredibly brave horse that Black Beauty met while in London, and what a heartbreaking story he told of charging into a war zone where very few horses survived the battle. I mustn’t forget Ginger, a lovely horse who befriends Black Beauty and is treated so badly by her different owners.
You can tell that this was written to teach people how to care for horses and to be kind to animals, which of course is a good thing, but I must admit that sometimes it did feel a little bit preachy. However it was a lovely listen with Cori Samuel reading beautifully for this LibriVox recording.
This is a new favourite for me and one I highly recommend.