My Friend Flicka is more than a great horse story. It shows the struggles of a dreamer as he enters the hard world that others live in and begins to accept responsibility. Readers of any age can appreciate the struggles of Ken, the scatterbrained son of a demanding father, as he spends a summer trying to prove himself.
The other characters are unusually well-rounded. Howard, the smug older brother, makes a satisfactory antagonist. Both parents command the reader's interest and sympathy. The ranch hands, the Swedish foreman, the army officers and their wives, the bronco buster, and the veterinarian, although less fully developed, seem very real; the whole world of horse ranching is explained in detail.
The quality of O'Hara's prose adds greatly to the appeal of the narrative. She uses a varied and flexible style, and her descriptions, particularly those of the landscape, are among the best in young adult fiction.
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