The book provides many unique perspectives, and the essays encompass a wide variety of voices and experiences. Throughout all of the essays there is a nostalgia for days gone by and the "old ways." Within the book's pages women share fond memories, the journey of growing up in the West, lessons learned through hard work, and the sometimes harsh realities brought about by life. Many of the essays are accompanied by a black and white photograph highlighting their main subject.
Divided into eight different sections - Fortitude, Horse Sense, Community, Self-Reliance, Memory, Resilience, and Lessons - the book is easy to pick up for a few minutes to read an essay or two. A reader can also easily jump around to the sections and essays that are most appealing to them. I found it was a good book to keep on hand for whenever I had a bit of reading time, no matter how brief.
The "Horse Sense" section contains nine different essays and poems reflecting on a variety of experiences with horses. The essays are interesting, providing a glimpse into each woman's attachment to horses and the sometimes life-changing experiences they've had with them. There's a story about rescuing a horse from a river overrun by flood waters, of clinging onto a wild ride after encountering a hornet nest, and (my favorite) a story about the role that horses played in a woman's recovery from a life-altering accident and the resulting PTSD.
I enjoyed this book, though found that I didn't readily take interest in many of the essays, despite the fact that I yearn to live a life in the West and believe that I was born on the wrong side of the country. I did enjoy the "Horse Sense" section, and found some of the essays very intriguing. Still, there is a variety of writing talent presented here, so there will likely be some essays and poems that you will skip, and some that will quickly grip you. I would have also liked to have seen photos provided by the essayists themselves - I found myself wanting to know what the specific story subjects looked like, and the photos that accompanied the essays were more generic.
Ankle High and Knee Deep is an interesting read, and anyone who's ever lived life in the West (or who wants to) can certainly find some essays within it that they enjoy.
Ankle High and Knee Deep is available on Amazon. You can also visit editor Gail Jenner's website.