The Ride of Her Life by Elizabeth Letts

The triumphant true story of a woman who rode her horse across America in the 1950s, fulfilling her dying wish to see the Pacific Ocean, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Horse and The Eighty-Dollar Champion

A few minutes with Elizabeth Letts and how this book came to be!

Elizabeth Letts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion and The Perfect Horse, which won the PEN Center USA Literary Award for research nonfiction, as well as the novel Finding Dorothy. She lives in Southern California and Northern Michigan.

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

“A woman who liked to wear pants and speak her mind, she wasn’t well regarded by local folks at the time. Some breathed a sigh of relief when she left. But Wilkins – also known as Mesannie or Jackass Annie  because she rode a donkey to her Job at a Lewiston shoe shop – would become famous for her journey.” Lindsay Tice, staff writer of the Lewiston Sun Journal, November 10th 2013.

Annie Wilkins has lost the family farm and the doctor says she has two years to live. This was Annie’s depressing view of the world in 1954. Elizabeth Letts’ “true story of a woman, her horse and their last chance to journey across America” reads like a heartwarming travelogue sprinkled with history, geography, and the pop culture of life in the mid-twentieth century. As brand-new T.V.’s blared “see the USA in a Chevrolet,” Annie had neither running water or electricity, much less a car or a TV on her farm in Minot, Maine. With nothing else to lose, Annie decided to aim herself toward the Pacific Ocean. This delightful memoir of how Annie and her animals are fed and cared for by so many generous, kind citizens and business owners will rebuild hope in humanity for those readers so discouraged by news in today’s world. The author includes compelling, detailed descriptions of burgeoning American industries such as Goodyear, Milton Bradley, and the Gulf Oil Corporation. The Ride of Her Life is a “feel good” trip down memory lane of the 1950’s & ‘60’s. T.V. personalities Art Linkletter, Groucho Marx, Walt Disney, and Andy Griffith are woven through Annie’s story, so readers get a real feel for how the lure of television got its toehold in small towns across America. The bonds of love and loyalty between Annie, her horses and her beloved dog, Depeche Toi, earn a special place in the hearts of readers. From the “Mile-a-Minute Highway” in Maine on the East Coast, through the Lincoln Heritage Trail in the Mid-West, all the way through Cheyenne’s Frontier Days, readers will be as anxious as Annie and the Pioneers on the Oregon Trail. But Annie follows her father’s advice and so should readers: “Have faith and keep going.”  

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