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.
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.
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
–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
–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
–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.
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.
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
–New York Newsday
Entertaining . . . [Merry Whiteford] shows storytelling ability and a deft
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.
Clever and classy . . . Her insight into life with a sudden celebrity author
makes the story ring with realism . . . A dazzling story, direct, honest,
–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