Book Review: Take A Good Look Around

Take A Good Look Around is a compilation of stories and poems surrounding the experiences of the author, James C. Wofford. The book humorously chronicles unique aspects of Wofford’s life as a horse trainer, Olympic coach, and avid outdoorsman. It exhibits his talents as a poet; he writes in verse about the conscience of caring for the environment, the disappearance of a loved-one, and the joy and hope brought about by children and animals. In pure Wofford style, he qualifies his text by stating, “I have always been aware that we might not see something, or experience something for a second time, hence the title.”

Take A Good Look Around is a “sort-of-diary” compiled by Wofford over the course of his “unusual” lifetime. It is easy reading, filled with quick wit and clever quips. The author dedicates 10 chapters to his hunting and fishing expeditions, appropriately entitled, “Hooks and Bullets.” In one chapter, Wofford explains how he cheats death for the second time during a trout fishing expedition in Canada. From there, he incorporates his experiences as an Olympic-level equestrian coach and national television commentator in a section entitled “Mostly Horses.” He discusses “Horsegate” at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the drawn-out saga of determining a winner. Wofford even writes in verse about his feeling on nature, pets, and hope in a series of poems that spans three chapters called “Verse.” He explores the Midland-Piedmont Foxhound Trial and references the legend of the “two-brushed fox,” the conscience of the sporting community who must serve as the caretaker of nature.

Take A Good Look Around depicts the life of a truly unique individual – equestrian, outdoorsman, and humanitarian. From the author’s run-in with a wild boar during a hunting expedition in Texas to the disappearance of his beloved Labrador companion, Sage, these stories are must reads for those who crave good-old, rustic Americana at its best.

Take A Good Look Around
Author: James C. Wofford
Published in 2007 by Hamilton Books
(212 pages, ISBN: 0-7618-3657-8).

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