I was really excited to receive an advanced reader copy of The Year of the Horses, a memoir by Courtney Maum that is forthcoming from TinHouse Books.
I have to admit, I was really intrigued as I started this memoir, because – at least on paper – I have a lot in common with Maum: I’m married, I’m a new mother with a young daughter, and I am an aspiring writer (not that Maum is aspiring… she’s obviously made it). Not to mention, like Maum, I’m a white and come from a good amount of privilege.
And yet, despite all these similarities between Maum and I, unfortunately I had a really hard time connecting with this novel.
Now, I don’t have a deep connection with horses and I haven’t (to my good fortune) experienced turmoil in my marriage or deep bouts of depression since having a child, so perhaps these differences contributed to my lack of engagement with the narrative. But then, I’ve certainly read narratives I had nothing in common with that I nevertheless felt deeply connected to.
Rather, I think I simply struggled to really feel the stakes, or urgency, in this novel. And at the same time, I found it difficult to really understand or sympathize with the author’s frustrations as a wife and mother, which to me often felt unwarranted or exaggerated.
All in all, while I appreciated the author’s willingness to share her personal healing journey, this wasn’t a particularly captivating story for me. Have you read The Year of the Horses? What did you think?