The novel, The Horse Whisperer, by Nicholas Evans begins with a very suspenseful accident involving two young girls, two horses, and a semi truck. This tragic accident sets up the rest of the novel. While out riding horses, Grace and Judith are hit by a semi truck that slides on the ice. Grace and her horse, Pilgrim, are the only survivers. Grace is wounded both physically and spiritually; she loses her right leg. Her horse is driven mad by pain and fear. Annie Graves, Grace's mother, is a workaholic that has lost all conection with her daughter. Annie tries to save them both even though many people tell her to put Pilgrim down. She cannot explain it, but somehow she knows that Grace's life is connected to Pilgrim's. This realization leads Annie down a path that she does not expect. She ends up leaving her husband at home in New York to take Grace and Pilgrim to a rancher in Montana that is known for calming and healing horses. This healer, Tom Booker, is less than willing to help them at first, but Annie is very persistent. He is her only hope at saving both Pilgrim and Grace, and she will not let them down.
Grace and Pilgrim both start to come around eventually with Tom's help. Grace accepts her handicap, and Pilgrim begins to trust again. Since they are connected, as Pilgrim is healed by Tom, so is Grace. Grace still does not speak to her mother, and cannot forgive her for bringing her to Montana. After a long period of silence, Grace finally opens up and recalls the memory of the accident that she repressed. She would tell no one except Tom. She comes to love and trust him. Then Annie begins to fall in love with Tom, who feels the same, and Annie ends up cheating on her husband. She feels guilty, but at the same time knew that it was meant to be. This makes Grace very angry because she feels like they do not really care about her , and she runs away. She ends up getting caught in a fire. Tom dies while trying to save her, which makes Grace realize that both Tom and Annie truly care about her and she is worth more to them than a cripple. Grace hugs Annie, and they both weep after months of being on bad terms with each other. Annie and Grace go back to New York a few days after Tom dies. While Annie's family should have been wrecked and her relationship with her husband ruined, by a miracle it is not. Annie is pregnant with Tom's baby. This should have torn their family apart even more, but somehow it has the opposite effect: it heals them. The novel ends with Annie, her husband, and Grace all laughing and crying in the hospital with the newborn.
1. Relationships are an important theme throughout the book. Grace's family is already flawed, and the tragedy brings out those flaws. Pilgrim is the only thing connecting them. How are Annie, Grace, and Pilgrim all joined in suffering?
2. Tom is the symbol of trust in the book. Why is trust so important in the process of healing someone that's been hurt emotionally as well as physically?
3. Grace represses the awful memory of the accident, and she claims that she hit her head and cannot remember. Why do people repress bad memories instead of facing them?