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Publisher's Summary

When her older sister runs away to marry a rodeo cowboy, sixth-grader Alice Winston is left to bear the brunt of her family's troubles: a depressed, bed-ridden mother; a reticent, overworked father; and a rundown horse ranch. As the hottest summer in 15 years unfolds and bills pile up, Alice is torn between dreams of escaping the loneliness of her duty-filled life and a longing to help her father mend their family and the ranch. To make ends meet, the Winstons board the pampered horses of rich neighbors, and for the first time Alice confronts the power and security that class and wealth provide. As her family and their well-being become intertwined with the lives of their clients, Alice is drawn into an adult world of secrets and hard truths, and she soon discovers that people (including herself) can be cruel, can lie and cheat, and, every once in a while, can do something heartbreaking and selfless. Ultimately, Alice and her family must weather a devastating betrayal and a shocking, violent series of events that will test their love and prove the power of forgiveness.
A wise and astonishing novel about the different guises of love and the often steep tolls found on the road to adulthood, The God of Animals is a haunting, unforgettable debut.
©2007 Aryn Kyle. All rights reserved; (P)2007 Simon and Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.
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Critic Reviews

"[A] confident debut novel." (Publishers Weekly)
"A very impressive debut. Kyle's prose is graceful and mature, and her themes are subtly stitched into the story....A powerful tale, from a writer with real promise." (Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Cameo on 03-29-07


This is a beautiful novel. I was struck by how perfectly the writer conveyed a moment or a feeling with a few stark words, and there is an honest and organic feeling to the story so that the reader can't predict where it will go. Between listening, I could not wait to get back to it, and when it was finished I spent a good, long time thinking about it.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By SWB on 09-09-09

Disturbing and Recurring Theme of Animal Abuse

Short summary: The cruel and frequent animal abuse overshadows the story. It cannot be denied that Aryn Kyle is a talented newcomer. This book reads like a true memoir. In addition, the narrator is very talented and helped "set the tone" of the book. I was ever aware of how painfully real some of the familial interactions were when compared to my own life and the lives of others I've been privy to. That being said, and proper respect having been given to both the author and narrator, I wish I had more carefully read all of the other reviews. I was extremely overwhelmed by the prevalent, disturbing, and graphic theme of animal abuse present throughout the entire book. The abuse was not exclusive to just horses; dogs and cats were included as well. There were two scenarios: Either the animal abuse was literally an "in your face" part of the current section or it was there, patiently and silently simmering underneath as an understood just biding its time until stating it out loud was relevant to the section/part at hand. I was not able to enjoy the story for fear of when or how the next situation of animal abuse was going to leap out at me around the next corner. So consider this a blatant warning: If you are sensitive to any type of animal mistreatment (abuse, neglect, negative conditioning, etc.) do NOT listen to this book. You will regret it. The emotional pain and graphic images you will not be able to shake off for weeks to come is not worth the story itself which again, is a shame since this is a talented writer.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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