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Raja, Story of a Racehorse Paperback – December 1, 2011
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
"RAJA is a very, very good book. It's definitely one of my favorite horse books - and I have read a lot of them! It's heartbreaking at times but also wonderful at others. I couldn't put it down. I would definitely recommend it!"
"This book is full of heart. I got swept up in the story and the world of racing and show jumping and steeplechase, and couldn't put it down. Hambleton evokes the smells, the countryside, the thrills and the colorful characters with a vivid and knowing pen."
Peter Heller, author of Kook and The Whale Warriors
An outstanding debut novel for young people. Reminiscent of Anna Sewell's classic, Black Beauty, in its deeply felt narrative as voiced by a thoroughbred racehorse, (this novel) is written with empathy and a vivid sense of drama....a moving narrative that will keep fellow horse-loving readers of any age enthralled.
"In a quest to fulfill his destiny, Raja bounds from race-track to fox hunt, city police work, and steeplechase, in an adventure that slowly reveals itself to be a love story. Young equestrians will be thrilled by this fine story."
Alex Prud'homme, author of The Ripple Effect and co-author of My Life in France
"Raja" is an authentic story. Anne Hambleton knows what it feels like to gallop down to the post and she conveys those sensations to her readers with a sharp immediacy that is certain to delight and enthrall."
Denny Emerson, Hall of Fame Three Day Event rider/trainer, Olympian,
Author of How Good Riders get Good
“Lifelong equestrian Hambleton makes an impressive outing as a first-time author of juvenile fiction, weaving her knowledge and love of horses, horsemanship, and the world of competitive racing into a moving narrative that will keep fellow horse-loving readers of any age enthralled.” —Kirkus
“A compelling tale of the courage and resilience of a great Thoroughbred, my favorite breed.” —Michael Matz, Hall of Fame show jumper, Olympic medalist, and trainer of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro
“An authentic story. Most authors haven’t ridden what they write. Anne Hambleton has. She knows what it feels like to gallop down to the post of the Maryland Hunt Cup, and she conveys those sensations to her readers with a sharp immediacy that is certain to delight and enthrall.” —Denny Emerson, Hall of Fame three-day-event rider/trainer and author, How Good Riders Get Good
“This book is full of heart. I got swept up in the story and the world of racing and show jumping and steeplechase, and couldn’t put it down.” —Peter Heller, author, Kook and The Whale Warriors
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Top Customer Reviews
It's a dizzying account of just how quickly a horse can be cycled through homes and careers. Raja, a top-tier Thoroughbred, starts out with a promising juvenile career at Saratoga, but soon finds that a horse's lot is to be sold, and bought, and given away, and auctioned off, again and again, trailed by a terror of lightning bolts and a tragic sense that he had been destined for great things. Raja's black rain cloud follows him wherever he goes, and lets loose with the thunder and lightning every time things start to look up.
But you know what the t-shirt says: "Every horse deserves his very own little girl." Raja, the ambitious Thoroughbred who just wants to be the best, might have been looking for luck in all the wrong places.
Some things that I found somewhat off putting were the differences between the thoughts of the horse and simple descriptions in the text. Often there are times when the thought of the horse could have been just as useful as regular text. The change in tempo was somewhat throwing me off as an adult reader, but might not for younger readers. There were also some things that a book on horse racing and horses in general shouldn't have done... like mix up the Preakness and Belmont stakes in one location (or seem to) and write about someone telling a volunteer at a horse show about all the ways a horse can spook. Someone working at a horse show, even as a volunteer should /not/ be handling them if they have no experience what so ever.
For the most part, it was good to get "in the horse's head" and experience life the way the horse does. I found it particularly eye opening to have the horse humanized in the fact that after he suffers his career ending injury, he goes through a process of discovering what he wants to do with his life. Yes, as a horse he gets moved around without any say in the matter, but discovering new lines of work, discovering new sports, is told from a very unique perspective that puts you into the heart of the character.
This sets off a chain of events that sees Raja end up with a variety of owners, some good, some bad, and move from one purpose to another. Along the way, readers get an interesting look at and education about the variety of ways horses interact with humans. Raja learns dressage and steeplechase. He also discovers that not all horses race. For instance, some are set to work in fields, while others are police horses. Some owners treat their horses well and develop special bonds with them, others see them merely as a means to an end, like winning races or keeping a farm going. Some owners don't know how to care for horses, and the animals suffer from neglect.
Through the eyes of Raja readers see both the good and the bad, and they get a feeling for how much horses (and other animals) depend on the humans in their lives to protect them from harm. Raja's connections to the people who care for him, his fears of lightning and the "kill buyer" at auction, his love of running and open pastures, all combine to make his story both touching and educational. You'll cheer him on to the very last page.
The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Anne Hambleton writes from the horse's perspective, and her years as a horsewoman shine through brilliantly. I even found myself thinking more about my horse and his thoughts while reading this book. She educates readers without coming across as an instructor and provides exacting details about many different riding disciplines. Hambleton creates great empathy for the horses in the story and also depicts elements such as herd dynamics which are so important to understanding horses and their social make-up.
Margaret Kauffman's lovely illustrations complement the book well, and the text design and layout were very appealing. I highly recommend this book to both horse people and non-horse people. Hambleton's beautiful descriptions, excellent writing, exciting plot, and portrayal of many aspects of the horse industry create a wonderful read for all ages. I hope to see more from this debut author.
Author, Believing In Horses
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great story about the life of an American Thoroughbred, written in a fashion similar to that of Black Beauty.Published on April 17, 2013 by formyponies
A friend who grew up around horses highly recommended this book for a young relative, and while it was in the house, I decided to give it a read. WOW, what a compelling read! Read morePublished on April 2, 2013 by Robert Allan
Raja isn't just for middle schoolers, as I think anyone who has been involved with thoroughbreds on any level will enjoy this story that answers all of the "I wonder what happened... Read morePublished on March 21, 2013 by R. Thomas
I was pleasantly surprised when I read this novel, Raja, by Anne Hambleton. At first, I thought it was a true story of an unknown racehorse, but as soon as I began reading it, I... Read morePublished on February 27, 2013 by Sharon Miner
I read Raja in two sittings on my Blackberry/Kindle app and will be buying the paperback for others I know who love inspirational, exciting stories about heros - horse and human. Read morePublished on February 8, 2012 by Allison Crews
A great story of struggle, perseverance and renewal, similar to the epics War Horse and Black Beauty. An uplifting tale for anyone, not just horse lovers!Published on December 29, 2011 by amy woodford