I never knew that it was a book before it was made into a movie. Although I have a primary bias regarding to the story but I enjoyed this book just as well it deserved. War Horse is written in a similar way Black Beauty did by the first person narration. Unlike Black Beauty, War Horse told the story about a half-thoroughbred horse, Joey, and his life at the farm where he grew up with his master, Albert and his fate when he was brought into the army, encountering massive tragedy and fate, had traveled the continent between both sides of the war, befriended with new friends and suffering lost and death at the same time.
The narration proved to be intriguing. In a way, the storytelling is passive because it was being told by a horse. But whatever limitation it have, the story through the observant eyes of Joey was more telling than the characters themselves. In the movie, the story was told around the horse and the characters and the conditions of the war itself but due to the medium, it lack the crucial part of what the book really is, the wisdom within the horse himself. For all its worth, its a hard book to adapt into the movies but they did it well. For most part, I like the movie better in making the plot realistic than what was written in this book.
Even if Joey is passive as a narrating character, he’s clearly an active observant of the people around him. In a way, the author drove a humanizing element into the story in the eyes of a horse. It was an impressive feat on its own to craft a war story around an animal but it did work. I’m not certain if the story was intended to be a children book because its clearly isn’t just as the movie isn’t for me. It is a story about animal but it is a genuine misnomer to assume that all animal anthropomorphism stories belong to children’s fiction. Then again, the idea of a genre is always subjective through the eyes of the readers. In this case, War Horse is a historical novel and a drama around the era where the world is in chaos where the soldiers getting younger and die faster and where people and animals are also suffering in both sides without a choice in this madness.