TALL AND PROUD by Vian Smith


Email this review


Like Martin Rides the Moor (1965, p. 574, J-188), this is the story of a youngster (this time a girl) encouraged to overcome a handicap (this time polio) by the acquisition of a horse. Gail is stricken suddenly while she is enacting heroic exploits in the moorland stream; in the hospital, she writes and draws her imaginings, always with a horse, tall and proud, at their hub. Home again, she fails to progress; over-protected by her mother, she is in danger of becoming a permanent invalid. A sharp warning from the doctor sends Gail's father searching for a horse to give her an incentive to walk. Sam-- Samalaya, an injured racehorse -- is the answer: he's cheap enough for Mr. Fleming, fine enough for Gail. Girl and horse recover together, and cap their cure by helping to catch an escaped prisoner. The course of Gail's illness, from blinding pain to resentment to renewed effort, is seen through her own troubled consciousness, sometimes clearly, sometimes overlaid by suspicion and jealousy; her mother's concern struggles with a sense of estrangement from her daughter; her father's worry is for Gail and for his own inadequacy. Horse and handicap hold the reader's interest and the underlying conflicts raise it above the routine.

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 1966
Publisher: Doubleday