Taming the Star Runner | Critical Review by Elizabeth Ward

This literature criticism consists of approximately 2 pages of analysis & critique of Taming the Star Runner.
This section contains 350 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Elizabeth Ward

Critical Review by Elizabeth Ward

SOURCE: "Young Bookshelf," in The Washington Post Book World, February 12, 1989, p. 9.

In the following excerpt, Ward offers a negative assessment of Taming the Star Runner, describing the characters as superficial and self-absorbed and asserting that the prose falls flat.

In [Taming the Star Runner,] her first novel since Tex, published 10 years ago, the phenomenally popular S. E. Hinton returns to the familiar territory of teen-age disaffection and the search for happiness.

Good-looking Travis, with his blackfringed, gray-green eyes, as cold as the Irish sea, is neither a doper nor a straight, but a sensitive, intelligent, creative, profoundly misunderstood cat-lover, who has recently become a juvenile delinquent through no fault of his own (intolerably provoked by his stepfather, Travis had been forced to try and murder him with a fire poker).

Now, emerging from a spell in juvenile hall, he tells us that "his boot felt empty without his knife in it." However, in a subplot that would sound completely improbable were it not for the fact that S. E. Hinton did it herself at age 16, Travis has written a novel and had it accepted by a New York publisher.

Most of the book is set in Oklahoma, where Travis is sent to straighten out on his lawyer uncle's ranch. Rebuffed at the local high school, ignored by his busy uncle, Travis feels increasingly at odds with the world, that is, until he finds solace in the ranch riding school. Not only are the preppie young students very cute ("He had never felt so protective of anyone as he did of Jennifer"), but their 18-year-old instructor, Casey, is quite as sensitive and untameable as Travis is, so sparks must fly.

"The Star Runner" of the title is a vicious horse Casey is vainly attempting to train and may or may not be supposed to serve as a metaphor for both hero and heroine. If so, the horse's ultimate fate is certainly inauspicious. Unfortunately too, S. E. Hinton's knack of emotional manipulation doesn't compensate for the shallowness and narcissism of her characters or the essential banality of her prose.

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This section contains 350 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Elizabeth Ward
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