Reviews & Praise
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Reviews and Praise

If Wishes Were Horses

Whiteford weaves a tale of self-discovery in this affecting story of a young girl growing up in upstate New York during the 1970s.
–Publishers Weekly

Rating: Must Read!... Merry Whiteford has opened doors we usually keep closed. She offers a look at what makes people tick, and a look at the deepest darkest secrets that are often shut tight in little glass jars and held tightly to our chests. ... If Wishes Were Horses is a book that you won’t soon forget, nor should you.

Readers coming to Merry Whiteford for the first time through her new novel, If Wishes Were Horses, may be taken by the world she creates and the characters she places in that world. They will be pleased to learn that she is the author of two other novels... [The protagonist of this novel] is an engaging narrator and character, and her determination even in the midst of her confusion is convincing and compelling. Her story is sad and depressing and uplifting and inspiring all at the same time.
–Richmond Times-Dispatch

If Wishes Were Horses is a bittersweet and powerful coming-of-age story. Author Merry Whiteford has used her pen once again to breathe life into her characters until they come alive... Ms. Whiteford is truly spellbinding and a writer to watch.
Donna E. Bedrick, Word Museum Reviews

‘Starting with almost nothing leaves almost everything open.’ This particular quote personifies the searching yet indomitable spirit of this novel’s young narrator...Whiteford’s unusual talent lies in the manner in which she manages to portray a tough world in its basest, street-smart forms with the visionary world of an appreciative and maturing poet. ...The language at times is absolutely exquisite... [in] this painful but glorious story.
–The Best Reviews

Talented author Merry Whiteford explores the world of foster children in this tale of love, poverty and dreams, set in the mid-1970's and told by a young woman caught between the childhood she never really had and an adulthood she isn’t at all prepared for. ...In this beautifully rendered coming-of-age novel, Ms. Whiteford vividly portrays the sense of isolation, the knowledge of separateness not only understood but, to a degree, cultivated by a child for whom relationships are controlled by fiat. ...What is particularly powerful about this book is its underlying theme that small applications of kindness and generosity–not necessarily of money but of time and experience and attention–can produce quality fruit even in soil that seems blasted and infertile. If Wishes Were Horses is a superbly constructed window into a Dickensian world most people will hopefully never see, and yet one that everyone should have at least a taste of.
Elizabeth K. Burton, Blue Iris Journal

Some stories read like poetry, a literary dance of word and thought and feeling. When you find one that engages you on a level of thought as well as feeling, you know you’ve found yourself a treasure. If Wishes Were Horses by Merry Whiteford is just such a book... Insightful, witty, and so easy to read the pages just fly by, here is a work of prose that has a poetry all its own. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Donna Denn, The Compulsive Reader

William Faulkner implicitly acclaimed those who could prevail when endurance would suffice for survival. Whiteford has drawn a sympathetic but refreshingly unromantic portrait of one such young woman.
–Hampton Roads Monthly

An excellent read.
–Book Review Cafe

If Wishes Were Horses enlightens and entertains. In the course of this beautifully written novel, we are uplifted and gently assured of the power of the human spirit to soar above even the darkest times through love, forgiveness, and redemption. A great read that will stay with you forever.
–Kathleen Brehony, author of After the Darkest Hour: How Suffering Begins the Journey to Wisdom

Written with fierce grace and a retentive eye and ear, If Wishes Were Horses fairly canters to its conclusion: a coming-of-age story in which innocence contends with rage, and loss with hard-earned gain. For “Star” Hennessey and her creator, Merry Whiteford, the love of language, truth-telling and inventiveness all emerge intact.
–Nicholas Delbanco, author of What Remains

If Wishes Were Horses lives up to the shining promise of Merry Whiteford’s first two novels. Here is a narrative that will joyously break your heart. A writer to watch.
–Harry Crews, author of A Feast of Snakes

This person is a writer. This person has a lot to tell us.
–Kurt Vonnegut

Dog People
This is a touching, beautifully written story of a child’s struggle into adulthood in the face of tragic circumstances over which she has no control.
Patty Engleman, Booklist

Even at its most gothic, McInerney-Whiteford’s second novel
. . . proceeds with a tragic inevitability that pulls at the heart-strings.
–Publisher’s Weekly

Dog People is an excellent tale of a dysfunctional family spinning further into depravation and destruction . . . extremely well written, the story line does not have a happy ending (rightfully so) . . . It is Trisha’s child-like philosophy compared to a nation coming out of a child-like trance that makes this must reading for those who enjoy a relationship drama.
Harriet Klausner, Under the Covers; BookBrowser; and elsewhere

Don’t be fooled by the title; this riveting story isn’t about animals. Beginning the day after the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, it’s about the horrifying disintegration of 12-year-old Trish Dalton’s family . . . McInerney-Whiteford (former wife of writer Jay McInerney) makes Trish so appealing that the reader never lapses into despair.
–Minnesota Pioneer Press

Burning Down the House
Deliciously savage.
–New York Newsday

Entertaining . . . [Merry Whiteford] shows storytelling ability and a deft comic touch.
–Publisher’s Weekly

One suspects [Merry Whiteford], as the former wife of bad boy author Jay McInerney, knows quite well the territory about which she writes. Her story is told with a sharp and stinging wit.
–Library Journal

Clever and classy . . . Her insight into life with a sudden celebrity author makes the story ring with realism . . . A dazzling story, direct, honest, funny.
–Rocky Mountain News

Merry, the more talented of the two McInerneys, writes with bittersweet humor and hard-won assurance.
–East Bay Bookshelf


Copyright 2003  Merry Whiteford