Welcome to Week 3 of the Online Book Club discussion of National Velvet.
Did you enjoy this section? I'm still having a bit of trouble keeping up with the dialogue. It's just so different than modern dialogue. I can definitely tell that this book wasn't written in the past couple of years. What do you think? Did you have trouble keeping up with the story?
One thing that drove me crazy in this section was the fact that I could not find any information about what a Threadneedle Race was. That's the race that Velvet wins before she decides she wants to go for the Grand National. I found lots of information about threading the needle, but nothing seemed like what Velvet was doing in this section. During the race, readers see Mrs. Brown several times with a needle flashing in the air. I could not find anything about this kind of horse race anywhere. Can any of you help me out? If you want to see what threading the needle is, check out this article or check out the clip below.
Mi was sure nice to the girls, making sure they were able to enter into the races. Why is he so nice to them? Is it just because of how much he respects their mother? It seems like he has kind of adopted the family as his own. I think that's really nice because the Dad doesn't really stand out as an overly loving or kind character. He's not really mentioned that much.
In this section, Velvet wins her first race, and then, she decides that she wants to race the piebald in the Grand National race. I didn't realize before starting this book, but the Grand National race is incredibly dangerous, and many horses have died while attempting it. If you'd like to read more about the dangers of the race, check out this article. It was a little surprising to me, after knowing what I know about the race, that a 14 year old girl would be so excited about entering. The dangers of the race were not really mentioned at all in this book, and I think that was a little unfortunate. The book is less believable once readers understand how incredibly dangerous it would be for Velvet to even consider racing.
Near the end of the section, Mi and Velvet decide to name the horse, "The Pie," and Mrs. Brown gives her English channel money to Velvet, so that Velvet can enter the race. That was really sweet when Mrs. Brown handed over her coins to her daughter. Weren't you surprised when the bank didn't want the gold coins? I couldn't believe that Mi didn't seem to understand that what he was paying with was incredibly valuable.
Velvet decides to actually do the riding in the horse race, and she cuts her hair, so she'll look like a jockey. Near the end of the section, Mi explains the route to her, and again, that part is just so incredibly unbelievable. She doesn't even seem to know where she'll be going, and she has no idea what the jumps are. This is a dangerous course--she couldn't just head into the race without knowing anything about any of the jumps. She would be dead after the first jump. Velvet doesn't seem to have any idea what she will do if people find out she's a girl and not a jockey. What do you think she will do? Will people find out? What do you think will happen at the end of the book?
What other things jumped out to you in this section? Are you excited to get to the ending? Are you bothered by the fact that a young girl is participating in such a dangerous event?
I hope you'll be able to finish the book for next week! I can't wait to hear all of your thoughts in the comments section!