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10 thoughts on “Riding Lessons

  1. says:

    After I loved Water for Elephants I really thought this would be another great book But, the main character was SO annoying No one person could possibly be that incompetent in every area of their lives marriage, parenting, relationship with her own parents, business, romance She was a failure at everything and she never seemed to learn from her mistakes Read Water for Elephants instead


  2. says:

    I once had a gentleman friend extremely fond of the phrase, Over the top, although he pronounced it, Overrrr de TOPP, for reasons I won t go into.In any case, that phrase recurred in my brain as I read this book Gruen is a good writer, but an editor really needed to slap her hand away from the crisis button during the review of this book I mean, the main character is getting divorced, barely on speaking terms with her parents, oh wait, her father is dying so that helps things in that scenario, she has a teenage daughter running out of control and she s a terrible parent naturally , she s heading toward financial ruin, she s sleeping with an old flame, she s afraid to ride again, she has acquired a horse under suspicious legal circumstances, she s flirting with a Frenchman, the French guy has a mustache, she s drinking too much and taking Valiums like they re canapes at a boring wedding it s exhausting to read and with all that going on, who has time to give a crap about the characters Although naturally it s pleasing to realize that, perhaps with Hollywood in mind, everything will be resolved by the final page of the book, when finances are going great, she s riding her newly acquired horse, she s reconciled with her daughter, mother and husband, has mourned her father s death but not too much , etc., etc., yawn, yawn.Also, although Gruen is a good writer, this book is a textbook case of telling not showing.Disappointing.


  3. says:

    So it was hard for me to like the main character, Annemarie Zimmer Even a little bit She s self centered, socially inept, and she flies off the handle at the slightest provocation She s a walking nightmare, and yet she s not a complete lost cause She does try, however miserably, and she always ends up failing, but there s something to be said for effort, right There is something to be said for the tragic character, and in many respects that s exactly what Annemarie is And if it hadn t been for Sara Gruen s deft hand, RIDING LESSONS might have been lacking In fact, I might have turned away completely.But I didn t My fingers pressed against my Kindle, as I turned page after electronic page, and I began to realize that Annemarie at least to a certain extent was a victim of her own circumstances, those from her past and those she had yet to face She may not have been able to completely save herself, or her daughter, or in some cases even her family, but she was broken and flawed and she popped right off of the page as real as life itself.Sometimes that s what we need to see in life And I was okay with that If you enjoy engaging reads with characters you may not totally enjoy or completely agree with, you might enjoy this one well enough If not, you may want to set your sights elsewhere.Cross posted at Robert s Reads


  4. says:

    Life is really too short to read books this damn dumb When I pulled this book from my shelf and read the back cover I couldn t remember why the hell I d bought this book back in 2009 I m guessing I d just finished the author s Water for Elephants and liked it enough to give another of her books a shot Also, horses are involved and I m a sucker for anything horse related Well, the horsey descriptions cannot make up for awkward writing, a moronic and odious heroine, and clunky romantic elements Sara Gruen s Riding Lessons is the story of Annemarie Zimmer who was once an Olympic contender in equestrian sports, but, after a horrific riding accident at eighteen, refused to ever ride again Now she is a 38 year old woman who has moved back home to New Hampshire and her parents horse farm in order to put her shattered life back together That s the concise summary of the book What happens is, all on the same day, Annemarie aka Dipshit is laid off from her job, her husband tells her he s leaving her for a younger woman, she discovers her daughter is in danger of being expelled from school, and her mother calls her to tell her that her father is dying of ALS Lou Gehrig s disease , a particularly horrible disease that gradually paralyzes the body but leaves the mind active and aware As a reader I think, Whoa That s a lot of crap to hit a person all on one day But okay, I ll put aside my doubts and keep reading How is our intrepid heroine going to deal with all this In one word badly.First, she packs up her surly teenage daughter Eva and moves them from Minneapolis to New Hampshire Ostensibly this is to help around the house and see her father, but she s so horrified by his deteriorating condition that she avoids him and can barely stand to be around him Okay, I can understand that this is difficult, but wow Annemarie, you are officially a Dipshit and an asshole Next, she walks in on her daughter in the bathtub and, after spending a certain amount of time creepily observing her daughter s impossibly firm breasts and perfect, taut skin, she sees above one of her breasts a tattoo of a unicorn with a radius of approximately one inch and freaks the fuck out 62 She attempts to yank Eva from the tub, causing the girl to fall backwards into the tub, screams at her that she is a stupid little girl and storms from the room to look up plastic surgeons to have this teeny tiny unicorn blasted from her daughter s perfect body Uh, who s the child here Damn woman, calm down It s a tiny tattoo of a unicorn for crying out loud Within twenty minutes seriously, that s directly from the book , Dipshit storms downstairs, shouting for Eva to come here right this second because they have an appointment in half an hour to see a plastic surgeon Um, okay, eye rolling on my part Really You have an appointment with a plastic surgeon today in 30 minutes C mon You re in New Hampshire, not freaking Los Angeles And where the hell is this plastic surgeon who can see you in 30 minutes Does New Hampshire have an office conveniently located nearby solely dedicated to seeing melodramatic psycho idiotic mothers Luckily, Papa sees this and he consoles his stupid daughter, telling her that if she forces Eva to remove the tattoo, she ll probably be resentful and do something even rebellious Gee, ya think Dipshit is astonished by this amazing insight and never hauls Eva to the plastic surgeon From what I can see, Eva is not a bad kid It seems that she is just acting like a teenager excited about something and talkative one day, surly and sullen the next That s being a teenager That s what they do They also sometimes do things they know will piss off their parents and the parents should be wise enough to know this and be flexible enough to deal with it without freaking out Dipshit is not this parent Who knows about Roger, her missing husband, but Dipshit seems to have been an absent parent and even when she spent time with her daughter, she didn t seem to enjoy the experience all that much All parents screw up and make mistakes, but Dipshit is too much of a child herself to deal maturely with Eva This book has a lot of problems, but the poorly constructed characters is the biggest I think Gruen meant for readers to have sympathy for Dipshit and to show how Dipshit is courageous and can face the overwhelming challenges life has thrown at her However, Gruen has piled on way too many challenges for Dipshit and Dipshit is not facing them I can understand Dipshit being unfocused and thrown off balance by her loss of a job and her husband leaving her AND her father s ALS, but c mon She doesn t deal with any of it She avoids her lawyer s emails and phone calls even though she s the one who initiated divorce proceedings and she still has thoughts such as, oh, I m sure Roger and I can work it out and get back together Um, then why do you avoid his phone calls and emails Why did you file for divorce Supposedly she wants to help her father, but she is horrified by him and can t face him so she avoids him She picks fights with her mother Mutti, apparently German for mother mom Pappa and Mutti are names that both annoy me I guess it just seems childish about stupid stuff because she s an immature brat When she tells Mutti she wants to help run the stables, Mutti tells her no because she doesn t have the training and it s complicated than she thinks Dipshit gets offended by this and responds with a smart ass comment, It s not rocket science Cue the dramatic music Dipshit fucks up managing the stables I m not sure when she started managing the stables from what the author has shown me of Mutti, she wouldn t have allowed it But suddenly Dipshit is managing and Mutti is shuffled off stage to take care of her husband This doesn t make any sense because they have a male nurse who is there now almost 24 7 to help with Pappa and he zips around in a wheelchair so what s Mutti doing Oh, yeah, the author needed to have Dipshit take over the stable management so she can show how demanding it is and add difficulty to this woman s life I m guessing that magically with the help of a good man, there are two candidates waiting to be interviewed she ll see she need to focus and bam she ll become an amazing stable manager Overnight I guess because I will not make it that far This woman is not a believable character She was raised with horses, loves horses, raised her daughter to love horses and ride, and yet she mismanages her parents business and doesn t seem to care if the horses have feed or shavings When she is reminded for the umpteenth time by one of the stable hands that he s almost out of hay and shavings and has she ordered them yet , she s horrified only two days supply left and promises to call, but instead decides, oh yeah, now s a great time to read the divorce settlement I ve been avoiding for weeks It s just so blatantly stupid I mean, let s avoid discussing the fact that a stable like that with thirty or so horses would probably have hay and straw delivered automatically on a schedule so as to avoid the necessity of calling every month or so to place an order not to mention if they ve settled on a fee and have paid for a year s supply in advance they would avoid the price fluctuations , why the hell would she procrastinate on that Usually people procrastinate on stuff they have a reason to avoid I can see her avoiding Roger s phone calls, avoiding dealing with the reality of her failed marriage by dodging her lawyer, but this is a simple order for vital supplies It s very, very bad plot construction by the author When the author has to contort the characters or the plot to make dumb things happen so that something else happens to further the plot and I can see the bones of the plot so clearly it s as if I ve written the plot outline myself, I m annoyed I don t want to see the steel frame of the story I just want the story If I can pick apart the story while I m reading it, it s bad writing Here s the perfect example of what I mean Now that Dipshit has suddenly and with no warning assumed management of her parent s horse farm this includes stabling the horses, exercising the horses, employing stable hands and a trainer who gives riding lessons , she is under stress Her daughter, who has been around horses since she was a child and knows them very well, began volunteering with the local veterinarian who also happens to be Dipshit s high school hottie sweetie to care for rescued horses One day, when Dipshit is dealing with a demanding client whose complaint could have been easily dealt with and smoothed over , the hottie vet drives back with her daughter and it s clear there s a problem Dipshit, instead of professionally and politely telling Demanding Client that she has a family emergency and she ll be right back, yells at the woman to shut up, thus pissing her off So what was the big deal Oh, yeah, Hottie caught Eva smoking in the barn Anyone who works around horses or livestock in general knows this is a bad idea for readers who don t know large quantities of stored hay and staw burning matches cigarettes fire and I m not saying it doesn t happen, but really Eva now suddenly is a smoker And she s smoking around the rescued foals she s been so happy to take care of I don t believe it This is the poorly constructed plot device Gruen wants to put the stables in a dire financial situation How to do this Well, cause an important client to leave suddenly Why does the important client leave suddenly Because Dipshit is unprofessional with the important client How does that happen Insert artificial plot device Eva, who loves horses and has been around stables her whole life, suddenly decides to smoke in a barn This is bad writing Why not just let it happen organically From what I can see of Dipshit and how poorly she is handling everything in her life, it wouldn t surprise anyone except maybe Dipshit if clients left due to her pisspoor management of the stables But the author apparently needed the stables to be financially insecure right now for some other aspect of the plot to fall in place I won t know because I ve stopped reading this crappy novel so she had to artificially force it I call a foul on you, Gruen The other big plot of the book is the new horse she buys from Hottie He rescued the horse because it looks a lot like Harry, the horse who died in her bad riding accident twenty or so years ago She suspects the horse is Harry s brother, even though that horse supposedly died in a gruesome fire She s obsessed with this to the point of looking like a nutjob It s also kinda like is this important I mean, in the grand scheme of your life right now, is discovering the true identity of this horse so important Because I m pretty sure Dipshit is going to come out smelling like roses by the end of this book, she s probably right and something dishonest and evil went down with the horse s previous owner But no fear, she ll fix the farm, divorce her cheating husband, make her daughter her new BFF, and marry one of the hotties the other is the French pony tailed trainer Jean Claude Yes, that really is his name insert giggles here As for the horsey aspect of this craptastic novel, Gruen gets a better review I love horses Love, love, love I ve never gotten over my girly crush on them and I ve taking riding lessons English style, no less and I ve volunteered at a rescue farm that took in took in all sorts of animals, not just horses So much of her descriptions of the stables and the rescued horses does ring true to me I ve helped take care of horses that were neglected and abused and it s horrible to see and heart rending sad and makes me so angry I d like to do to the owners what they did to their animals, so I get that part of the book And when Dipshit says that she loves the smell of horses, I get that too Horses have the best smell in the world There s nothing like working with horses If I could manage it financially, I d quit my idiot job and spend all day mucking out stalls for free and consider myself lucky So, that s the only part of the novel that strikes me as honest Gruen s descriptions of the horses and the stables and the feel of a horse and the intense and unreasonable love for horses But other novels do it better, so I d rather re read Molly Gloss s The Hearts of Horses or Walter Farley s The Black Stallion series Those are better books.


  5. says:

    I DEVOURED this book from start to finish it took me about 3 days, and I m almost through with its sequel It s a new take on an old theme horses, illegal activities, danger, mystery, romance, and riding, riding, riding I couldn t tear my eyes away from the descriptions of the horses and the tack and the general horsey life I left behind so many years before And I have to admit, as I read Flying Changes , the sequel, I continue to have pangs of jealousy and regret at not reaching the levels of competition the protagnosists so easily fall into of course, horsey parents and incredible amounts of money help with this a lot, but, in my heart, I regret choosing against that life of serious competition, training, and teaching in favor of a normal and affordable one of academia and responsible decisions Oh well, what can you do I love that I can live vicariously through the eyes of a COMPLETELY bratty and undeserving, if I do say so myself teenager and her previously Olympic hopeful neurotic mom.Hope you enjoy


  6. says:

    I could not stand Annemarie She was snobby, selfish, unsympathetic, narcissistic and completely useless Everything she said or did pissed me off I have no idea whatsoever what Dan saw in her On the plus side, the narrator of the audiobook did a fantastic job.


  7. says:

    I really tried to muddle through this one but had to give up about 1 3 of the way through I ve had another Sara Gruen novel, Water for Elephants, highly recommended to me, but it ll take a lot of convincing to get me to read it after this one Not that anyone cares enough about this to try to convince me To me, it read like one big cliche Woman has horrible riding accident and loses beloved horse which has an unusual white brindle pattern that was described as striped often enough to make me picture a zebra Decides never to ride again or really even see her parents any Flash forward to her very monotonous life with her husband former high school sweetheart and inexplicably troubled teenage daughter All on the same day, the woman loses her job, learns that her husband is leaving her for a younger woman, and discovers her father is dying of Lou Gehrig s disease She packs up resentful, troubled daughter and heads home for the first time in years The woman is selfishly bothered rather than relieved when her angst ridden teen starts to connect with grandma Enter the wise, French horse trainer Jean Luc the handsome local veterinarian a former flame and a wild, troubled, horse that looks eerily like the horse she lost years agoThat s about when I threw in the towel.


  8. says:

    I was intrigued by this book, because I ve heard such great things about the author this is the lady who wrote Water for Elephants and was curious as to her writing style I ended up finding it a bit jarring, but perhaps I m not used to the first person account though I ve never had this much of a problem with it before The story itself was interesting, though some parts seemed a bit too easily fixed What I mean by that is that the main character gets herself into soooooo much trouble and then things seem to magically work out in her favor As a character, she was very real, the situationthe jury s still out Her character, I loved though She was quite the alcoholic, never admitted it, but you count the number of times she was drinking or drunk and you would know it She can t control her teenage daughter, neglected her husband until he left her, nearly destroyed her parents business, and refused to come to terms with the fact that her father had a degenerative, terminal disease and as a result, never says a proper goodbye to him Very screwed up, and very real Oh, and she s obsessed with a horse Now, all the trouble that she gets into gets fixed almost entirely by everyone else around her All in all, interesting, but umm, perhaps not the best novel I ve ever read.


  9. says:

    I loved Water for Elephants, and so decided to read another book by Sara Gruen I m certainly not giving up on her, but this book was nowhere near the quality A lot of it I ended up just skimming because it was just so obvious and contrived For example, the scene where the main character decides to make dinner for the new man in her life of course, she can t cook but decides to make something incredibly complicated and gee, what a surprise, she fails miserably, but she and her man end up having a good ol romantic time because darn it, she is just so cute This was actually funny when it happened to Bridget Jones I mean, who can resist blue soup , but this attempt fell far short Ugh I know, I know, everyone s a critic, and I have not managed to actually write or publish any books of my own, so shut up I think I m just bitter that I managed to pick such a dud for my first Kindle purchase I think I m going back to the library and will only pay for the download if I m certain I love it


  10. says:

    Pretty close to making this a DNF.I picked it up because I loved the author s book Like Water For Elephants but this book is not bringing me that same level of enjoyment I am not certain if it is the book or the person reading it, but I dislike both the main character Annemarie and her Daughter, Eva Both seem to be in perpetual states of anger shrieky anger Some of that may be the person reading who, the actress is just driving me up a wall Everything is overdramatic Annemarie and her daughter seem pretty one dimension I just want to shake Annemarie and say No wonder your husband ditched you and your daughter divorced you You re immature and whiny She reacts with anger to everything, everything, her daughter does You d think by the time her daughter reached 15 Annemarie would have developed a little patience The male lead could use a bit personality and backbone Annemarie dumped him 20 years ago to marry her bad boy boyfriend She s divorced so he takes her back no questinos asked, no apologies made Boy these people are annoying Mutti the grandmother , I like The horses I like The rest of these people ACK


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Riding Lessons download Riding Lessons, read online Riding Lessons, kindle ebook Riding Lessons, Riding Lessons 26b185dabeef As A World Class Equestrian And Olympic Contender, Annemarie Zimmer Lived For The Thrill Of Flight Atop A Strong, Graceful Animal Then, At Eighteen, A Tragic Accident Destroyed Her Riding Career And Harry, The Beautiful Horse She Cherished Now, Twenty Years Later, Annemarie Is Coming Home To Her Dying Father S New Hampshire Horse Farm Jobless And Abandoned, She Is Bringing Her Troubled Teenage Daughter To This Place Of Pain And Memory, Where Ghosts Of An Unresolved Youth Still Haunt The Fields And Stables And Where Hope Lives In The Eyes Of The Handsome, Gentle Veterinarian Annemarie Loved As A Girl And In The Seductive Allure Of A Trainer With A Magic Touch But Everything Will Change Yet Again With One Glimpse Of A White Striped Gelding Startlingly Similar To The One Annemarie Lost In Another Lifetime And An Obsession Is Born That Could Shatter Her Fragile World