TITLE: Black Beauty
BY: Anna Sewell
GENRE: Children’s Classic, Animals
PUBLICATION: first published on November 24th 1877
This must be the easiest review I’ve ever made. The story serves as an autobiography that is told from a POV of a handsome, well-bred horse named Black Beauty. The story starts at Black Beauty’s birth in a nice meadow with his mother where he also gathered the best advice any animal (or person) should ever hear: Behave well to be treated well. Then he was old enough to be sold to other horse enthusiasts. Black Beauty narrated his experiences, bad and good, as he was passed from owner to owner along with all the lessons and realizations that go along those experiences. The story ends when he finally reach a family where his old groom is now employed, which results to Beauty’s last days in peace.
It was very short yet very fulfilling. The writing was simple and easy to understand even for children. Though some may find the writing and narration itself a little slow, for me it wasn’t really slow. I may call it in relaxing pace and it wasn’t boring too.
It was a great choice for the author to use the POV of the horse to express her views regarding serious matters such as animal abuse and humanity itself. Set in Victorian England, Sewell influenced the lot about treating animals, not only horses, kindly and humanely. But aside from that, this book also opened mind about human values that we should possess not only towards animals but everyone else.
The characters, both animals and people, were all well-created. But since the story is in the perspective of Black Beauty, a horse, it’s understandable that he’s more accurate on reading the horses’ characters than those of people. But he said enough about the people he’d been with and seen to deliver the message of the book accurately.
I read somewhere that this book introduced the world to a wider understanding of animal welfare and that it’s still considered as “the most influential anti-cruelty novel of all time” even now. Also it influenced the end of using ‘Bearing Rein’ in England.
This book being such a history maker and influential is what urged me to read it for a category in one of the reading challenges I’m doing this year. And I am not regretting that I did pick this up (it’s been in my shelf since forever), it’s a well-crafted novel, with a great message.
Thanks for reading guys,