Oginalii is Cherokee for My Friend Like Horse is to My Heart is the longer title of Stephanie M Sellers short Young Adult novel, a prequel to her longer work, Black Purse. Exilee is a mixed-race tomboy just beginning to learn her heritage. Preferring animals to humans, she runs her own pony show with cat and terrier and three-legged buffalo called Oginalii. She doesn’t want to learn the piano. She doesn’t get on with her sister. And she still dreams her mother’s spirit might come back and talk to her. The animals talk to Exilee, and their conversation carries the tale. The writing has an interesting cadence that soon has the reader believing Exilee can hear voices from pony and Yellow Cat. Beautifully descriptive and curiously different, the separation between Exilee and her family and her heritage feeds hauntingly into the words. The complex sentences weave an intricate blanket, and a willing reader is lulled by the curious cadences of the words, carried along into Exilee’s world and mystery and longing to learn. A neighbor is described moving “the cows down the hill every summer when the new Gardenia leaves unfold, like a soft slow wave hello from his wife.” Exilee’s struggle to listen to human conversation is intriguingly portrayed in the descriptive “Exilee stands statuesque as she plays radar for Miss Ginger’s words.” Oddly mesmerizing, the writing pulls you in. And Exilee grows up. The story is bracketed by loss, but what’s gained in between builds the character of Exilee. A broken three-legged heritage, like a three-legged buffalo, might prove to be something wonderful after all. But I’ll have to read Black Purse to find out what Exilee does with it.
Disclosure: I received free copies of both these novels from the author in exchange for an honest review. I apologize for taking so long to get to them, and hope to get to Black Purse soon.
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Sheila Deeth (SheilaDeeth)
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
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OGINALII, is Cherokee for My Friend Like Horse is to My Heart, is a Young Adult Short Story that pulls in the heart as you leave the asphalt for dusty rural roads and smelly farm land. Exilee Sheffield is a tomboy who recently lost her mother and deals with loneliness and grieving in a most unique manner. Anyone want to watch a pony-show with a cat on the back and a three-legged buffalo led by a hyper terrier? Exilee doesn't. She wants to do it! And she will. Exilee wants to do anything except learn piano and as Aunt Bell says, "Learn some manners." Until Exilee learns Auntie Bell just might be her new best friend, if she'll let her. Stephanie M. Sellers