The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Book summary and reviews of The Eighty-Dollar Champion by Elizabeth Letts

The Eighty-Dollar Champion

Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation

By Elizabeth Letts

The Eighty-Dollar Champion
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2011,
    352 pages.

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Book Summary

Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a bleak winter afternoon between the slats of a rickety truck bound for the slaughterhouse. He recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up horse and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry's modest farm on Long Island, the horse thrived. But the recent Dutch immigrant and his growing family needed money, and Harry was always on the lookout for the perfect thoroughbred to train for the show-jumping circuit - so he reluctantly sold Snowman to a farm a few miles down the road.
 
But Snowman had other ideas about what Harry needed. When he turned up back at Harry's barn, dragging an old tire and a broken fence board, Harry knew that he had misjudged the horse. And so he set about teaching this shaggy, easygoing horse how to fly. One show at a time, against extraordinary odds and some of the most expensive thoroughbreds alive, the pair climbed to the very top of the sport of show jumping.
 
Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo, based on the insight and recollections of "the Flying Dutchman" himself. Their story captured the heart of Cold War-era America - a story of unstoppable hope, inconceivable dreams, and the chance to have it all. Elizabeth Letts's message is simple: Never give up, even when the obstacles seem sky-high. There is something extraordinary in all of us.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Letts is a solid prose stylist; her vivid descriptions of staid Long Island with its 'gentle meadows ringed by dogwood trees' provide virtual tours, but it is de Leyer's realization of the American dream that is the real story." - Publishers Weekly

"Readers skittish around sentiment may balk, but Letts's gentle touch proves entirely suitable to this genuinely sweet tale. A heartwarming story begging for the Disney treatment." - Kirkus Reviews

"A fun and wonderfully detailed story about a most remarkable bond between a man and his horse. You will fall in love with the eighty-dollar champion." - W. Bruce Cameron, author of A Dog's Purpose

"This is a wonderful book - joyous, heartfelt, and an eloquent reminder that hope can be found in the unlikeliest of places. Most of all, it's a moving testament to the incredible things that can grow from the bond between animals and humans. If you love a great animal tale, you'll love this book!" - Gwen Cooper, author of Homer's Odyssey

"A real live fairy tale about an unlikely rider and an even unlikelier horse who soared over obstacles to capture the hearts of a nation. An eloquent story about near misses and impossible odds and what can happen with a little luck and a lot of determination. I fell in love with Snowman and Harry, and so will you." - Susan Richards, author of Chosen by a Horse

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Elizabeth Letts is the award-winning author of two novels, Quality of Care and Family Planning, and one children's book, The Butter Man. Quality of Care was a Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, and Books-A-Million Book Club selection. An equestrian from childhood, Letts represented California as a junior equestrian, and was runner-up in the California Horse and Rider of the Year competition. She currently lives with her husband and four children in Baltimore, Maryland. Visit her online at www.elizabethletts.com.

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