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Falling for Eli: How I Lost Heart, Then Gained Hope Through the Love of a Singular Horse Paperback – April 24, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books; Original edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738215279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738215273
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Lynne Cox, author of Swimming to Antarctica and Grayson
“This is a beautifully written and moving story about the way love creates restorative healing between a fragile human and fragile horse.”

Scott Kraft, Senior Editor, Los Angeles Times
Falling for Eli is a deeply touching memoir, a refreshing and lyrical homage to love and new definitions of motherhood. Shulins is a smart, funny guide on this voyage of discovery and rediscovery, and her 1,200-pound ‘baby’ Eli will steal your heart.”

Dolores Barclay, author, and Arts Editor, The Associated Press
“Love comes in all sizes and shapes, and Nancy Shulins opens our hearts to endless possibilities with her endearing, beautifully woven story of life with Eli. This book is sure to become a classic, and we'll always want to know what Eli will do next."

Publishers Weekly, 3/19/12
“Shulins proves to be a vulnerable, winning narrator in this story of redemption.”

Animal People, April issue
“An uplifting memoir.”

Herd in the Bookstore (blog), 2/27
“A well-written tale, readers will empathize with.”
 
Waterbury Republican, 4/22/12
“Engaging…Falling for Eli is the best sort of animal book: It’s about animals, but it’s also about the human animal.”
 
Shelf Awareness, 5/4/12
“Shulins's prose is a pleasure to read. She vividly depicts the dedication and passion required to love a horse long-term, as well as the limitless rewards in doing so…As Shulins shares her challenges and triumphs with Eli—her lovable but injury-prone gelding—and nurses him back from a series of ailments, including lameness, hives, Equine Protozoa Myeloencephalitis and a fractured shoulder, her heart is healed as well…An inspiring memoir about how ‘motherhood’ can take many forms.”
 
Library Journal, 5/3/12
“This book will appeal to horse and animal lovers as well as women who have struggled with getting pregnant.”
 
Booklist Online, 4/13/12
“In this heartwarming and soul-searching memoir, Shulins lets the reader in on her love affair with [a] temperamental chestnut.”
 
EntertainmenRealm.com, 5/11/12
“An easy-to-read memoir for any animal lover.”
 
InfoDad.com, 5/24/12
“The totality of the book gives exactly [the] impression: of a profound, tremendously meaningful connection between human and horse, in which there is genuine two-way communication.”
 
January, 6/4/12
“Nancy Shulins’ fantastic personal journey is made all the more powerful by her fierce talent. The twice Pulitzer Prize-contending journalist knows how to tell a story; knows how to bring us along…Like the very best memoirs, Falling for Eli is a wonderful story, but it is also so much more. We are made, in a way, to think about motherhood and how the definitions around it have changed and continue to change…One of my top picks of the year.”
 
Sunday Greenwich Time, 6/10/12
“It’s funny, sweet, and honest.”

Internet Review of Books, 7/20/12
“This book is not just for horse lovers or those who can commiserate with Shulins' infertility issues, but for anyone who enjoys entertaining and exceptional writing of one woman's journey to motherhood.”

DiscoverHorses.com
“A must read for any woman who has returned to horses later in life—or is thinking about it…It is beautifully written, the kind of writing that makes your mind feel as if it’s having a spa treatment with just the right balance of stimulation and relaxation.…100 percent authentic…Read it. You won’t regret it—and probably won’t forget it. I have no doubt that I’ll read it again someday—if I can get it back from my friends!"

Tucson Citizen, 8/08/12
“This remarkable story of the special bond that often develops between humans and animals is inspiring and beautifully written.”

Midwest Book Review
, August 2012
“Any collection strong in general-interest pet and autobiography accounts will relish this moving, inspiring story.”

Oceana’s Herald-Journal, 9/6/12
“As much a love story as a journey of healing…If you call yourself a horse person, or are looking for a story that has heart, this book is for you.”

Horse & Rider, 9/26/12
“If you enjoy reading about the horse-human connection, this is a good read for you.”

Named one of EntertainmentRealm.com’s “12 Favorite Nonfiction Books of 2012”

About the Author

Nancy Shulins was the first woman special correspondent in The Associated Press (AP). Her AP features earned two Pulitzer Prize nominations and a Clarion Award. She is the author of two books and lives in Norwalk, Connecticut, with her husband.
 

More About the Author

Nancy Shulins was the first woman special correspondent in the more than 150-year history of The Associated Press. Her in-depth features for AP earned two Pulitzer Prize nominations and a Clarion award, and are included in numerous anthologies and textbooks. Shulins has taught writing and coached other writers at newspapers from coast to coast. She is the author of three books, Falling For Eli: How I Lost Heart, Then Gained Hope Through the Love of a Singular Horse; Every Day I Love You More (Just Not Today); and Come to the Table. She lives in Norwalk, CT, with her husband, a consultant.


Eli was born a chestnut foal with a white star and one white sock on a Thoroughbred farm in upstate New York on April 17, 1990. The son of Dixieland Brass and Sois Sage, he was given the unfortunate name True Tone. As a yearling, he received a nasty kick to the right front knee and an early lesson in body language that never quite took. He went to the track to fulfill his destiny as a Native Dancer foal, but he was unhappy there so his breeder brought him home. His life was fairly uneventful until the fall of 1996, when he traveled to Oakwood Farm in Connecticut, delivered by two men whom he dragged across the indoor ring on their stomachs. Oakwood's trainer decided right then and there he was going back where he came from. Had her schedule allowed, that would've been the end of that. Instead, he hung around just long enough to get under my skin. And there he remains fifteen years later.

Customer Reviews

Nancy Shulins has indeed written a beautiful love story.
RocketSHS72
Sure, Eli can't sit on your lap, but when you read this book, you see how a horse's nuzzling is just like a puppy curling up in your lap.
Tobi Scooter
Anyone who loves horses or animals will especially love this book.
Judy P.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By California Cowgirl on June 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Conversation to the ER staff as I hobbled my way to registration mumbling something about my gentle quarter horse who has never ever bucked...well must have been spring fever - I should have seen the spark in his eyes, his ears snap to attention, when I made my way out to get him. Brushed, saddled and rider up - not for long - it was a long 8 week recovery for me - emotionally and physically. We have been a team for years, I thought to myself as I relived every moment of that ride - a few bedridden days later, scrolling through myriad on line books, I saw it - the face called out to me, and then the title - hmmm, I was looking for anything but a book on the love of a horse - in my mind I was done with horses, period. Eli came along. Nancy's personal journey, her honesty, her ability to articulate how Eli made her feel powerful and loved, how her life was more complete, the stories of learning to ride, made me cry, laugh, and got me through weeks of physical therapy and gave me the emotional support to get back in the saddle - women and horses - there is no stronger bond and no stronger love - thank you to Nancy and Eli - for giving me the courage to saddle up, again -
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Devoted Reader on April 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this memoir...I love Eli. Nancy Shulins is an amazing writer, and is able to capture for her readers the pathos and the humor as she moves from the devastating reality
that she will never have children to the joy of owning and caring for Eli, a "singular" character indeed. One doesn't need to know horses or experience infertility to identify with
Ms Shulin's journey from sorrow to hopefulness and love.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By private210 on April 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A friend of mine was reading this book and raved about it. Although I am not a rider (or a woman - it seems there aren't a lot of males in the world of horse riding) I really loved it. The writing is colorful, the characters are engaging, and I went from page to page following Nancy as she discovered herself and the joys and challenges of riding and ownership through her relationship with Eli. Along the way I learned a lot about the care and feeding of horses and the depth of feeling they share and can evoke. I think it a great read for any age!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Beth Duff-Brown on January 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully told story by someone talented and brave enough to open up her heart to readers and other women forced to give up on a dream that to most seems a right of birth. Shulins is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated former AP feature writer, and it shows from the opening lines: "Letting go of a dream is a process, a series of openings and closings of the hand, as you watch the magic dust you've been cradling so carefully trickle away in thin streams." I read this book in one sitting, fell in love with the characters at the barns, the good-natured Eli and with Nancy for her willingness to take the chance on something entirely new. Brava.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By arnold sadwin on April 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
I want to share Eli not only with my family but with my patients and friends who have therapeutic relationships with the animals under their care. I kept wanting more photos and wishing I had more knowledge of animal medicine. But the author's writing skills clearly paint the pictures and her acquired horse sense pulls the reader through the tribulations at a gallop. It is a significant contribution to greater understanding of the psychological interaction between the species. It should become required reading for all students. Falling For Eli demonstrates the magnificence and perpetual power of the maternal love instinct which becomes the stabilizing foundation of life and the great transcending equalizer.
Thank you, Nancy, thank you. You have soundly whipped this tired old horse and he is smiling.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thank you, Nancy Shulin, for sharing your amazing journey with Eli. This inspiring read gives hope to others who are vulnerable and hurting but also opens the reader's eyes to the challenges that come with horse ownership-from boarding and training issues to caring for injuries. Along the way, hearts are healed and lives are changed. Highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Olcott on February 3, 2014
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A good book, song, story, play or movie can sometimes inspire you, teach you, move you to laughter, bring you to tears or touch the core of your soul. A great one can do all of these things. Eli is a great one. No, it's not Pulitzer Prize material (though the author was nominated for one as a journalist) but if one can make a dressage comparison here where a ride is "foot perfect" then I would have to say Eli's story is "word perfect." It engaged me from the outset and kept me engaged throughout. Admittedly, as I have a horse Eli's exact age, who has had her share of mishaps and confinements, I could readily identify with Eli's story. She is a dressage horse who was challenging in her youth, from whom I took a spill long ago that not only broke ribs but my pelvis as well and who, through patience and committed determination, gave me the best dancing partner a girl could hope for. A trusted partnership has been the best gift of all. Eli's story, Nancy's story, mirrors my own. Nancy is a gifted craftswoman. Her ability to crawl inside her feelings - my feelings - is truly remarkable. The joy of connecting with horses, the fear of actually owning and being responsible for one, the highs of a ride gone well and the lows of one gone wrong, the quiet, serene moments we spend in silent companionship, the ways we understand our charges' nuances and character, the utter protectiveness we have when placing them in someone else's care, the anxiety (and guilt) over decisions we make (or don't make) for our silent partners, that other worldly place we go to when a vet is giving us potentially devastating news, the friendships we make, the places we go, the things we experience, the lessons we learn, all of them are here in this beautiful book. If you don't have a horse this is still a great story of the remarkable bond that can exist between a human and an animal. If you do have a horse - you're in for a sweet ride.
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