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Customer Review

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Flawed Premise, November 7, 2010
This review is from: The Witch of Hebron: A World Made by Hand Novel (Hardcover)
I have the greatest respect for Kunstler but I found this book hard going. The basic building blocks which began the story and carried it to its end were, in my opinion, deeply flawed. When people are in this kind of situation, where survival becomes a primary goal, they will quickly become aware that different rules now operate. First, horses are valuable. When your ill behaved puppy threatens the life of one of them, you are at fault and the puppy cannot be trusted. In rural eastern Oregon, which I know well, the child would have been punished, and the puppy would have been quietly disposed of. This is called reality. I also find it difficult to believe that dogs are scarce, and few people want to keep them. They eat meat which should be abundant in a world where wildlife is increasing, and they are very useful. At the least, there should be packs of them around.
The child blames everyone but himself, and no one encourages him to do otherwise. I suppose then it is natural that he wants to poison the horse, but it looks like everyone is just trying to understand him. On an Oregon ranch he would be banished.
Also, I just don't believe that people are going to fall apart in such numbers because they don't have strip malls anymore. People are a lot more resilient.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 1, 2012 8:39:53 PM PST
Book Lover says:
Are you serious? In Oregon, a puppy (really a baby) would be killed because it barked at a horse. WHAT? The child would be punished for letting the dog bark. HUH? And on an Orgeon ranch he would be banished (at the age of eleven) for poisoning a horse. I guess he'd get sent to a foster home or an orphanage? Or just thrown out in the wilderness to fend for himself??? Apparently horses are held in much higher esteen than a child in rural Oregon. Man, am I glad I don't live in Oregon! If given the option, I think I'd choose Nazi Germany. Good grief. Either the people in Oregon are mentally deficient mutants the likes of which are seen in moves like THE HILLS HAVE EYES or you have a few screws loose, my friend.

Posted on Apr 7, 2012 6:27:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 7, 2012 6:29:57 PM PDT
Gina says:
Where I live in Montana, livestock is valuable too. It's up to the dog owners to control their pets, and it is well understood by farmers and ranchers. With horses being so valued by the inhabitants of Union Grove, I find it unrealistic that 11 year old Jasper wouldn't already know and accept this.

It was hard to swallow that Jasper would have killed the stud horse - especially when he shows a maturity and compassion beyond his years throughout the novel. I suppose a catalyst that was sufficiently pernicious was required to explain Jasper's departure from home and advance the plot but I wish the author had come up with something other than the poisoned horse.

I doubt Jasper would be "banished" for his misdeed in Montana (he's only 11 years old, for cripes sake!), but I've no doubt he would be emphatically punished and thoroughly instructed in the responsibilities of dog ownership.

On the topic of dogs in this post-apocalyptic world, I too have a hard time believing they would be sparse. These people seem to do a lot of hunting and dogs would be a tremendous asset to them. There should definitely be dog packs - dogs are pretty good at surviving in packs. I could see where it would be beneficial for the survivors to try re-domesticating and raising dogs. Dogs are also well-suited to thrive on offal and bones so they wouldn't be taking much meat off the tables of the owners.
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