disclosure: I was sent this book for the purpose of an honest review.
I’d be the first to admit that when I think of horsepower, I’m thinking of a Ferrari, a Formula One car, I’m not thinking of a horse. I’ve had 3 encounters with horses in my lifetime. Firstly, the house we moved to when I was two years old had horses all over the walls of one of the bedrooms (the biggest) I bagged it! I lived surrounded by horses jumping fences for some years. Secondly, I rode a pony whilst in Bournemouth on holiday, I was probably 8ish at the time. My last horse encounter happened in Cuba in 2004, I was 36 and must have been mad! I sat on a really big horse, wearing a riding hat that clearly didn’t fit me, and I swear to god we did not trot, we galloped! I was terrified, give me fast cars any day. So, with this history, you’d be surprised to hear that when the BritMums Book club offered me the chance to read My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding, I said yes, please!
That’s what I love about book clubs, the chance to read something you wouldn’t normally read. I know who Clare Balding is, I’ve seen her on the TV, I knew she had been some sort of jockey in the past. I was slightly concerned that I wouldn’t understand My Animals and Other Family. I know nothing of furlongs, hands, horses (clearly) and the like, but I really was in for a pleasant surprise.
I love Clare’s writing style, it’s very funny, witty and real. I could actually hear her voice as I was reading it. Through each stage of Clare’s life, we meet the animals who have meant so much to her growing up. Not just horses and ponies but dogs too. We learn about her dysfunctional family and life at boarding school, as well as the challenges that jockey’s face.
My Animals and Other Family was a really enjoyable read, one of those books I had to limit myself to a certain number of pages a night or I would have been reading till the early hours. I’d like to see another book about her life as a Commentator now!
I can thoroughly recommend it, if you know nothing about horses, just like me, you will still enjoy reading this book. Well done BritMums Bookclub, a great pick for us to read.