Horse Crazy explores the meaning behind the love between girls and horses. Jean O'Malley Halley, a self-professed "horse girl," contends that this relationship and its cultural signifiers influence the manner in which young girls define their identity when it comes to gender. Halley examines how popular culture, including the "pony book" genre, uses horses to encourage conformity to gender norms but also insists that the loving relationship between a girl and a horse fundamentally challenges heteronormative and mainstream ideas of girlhood.
This study weaves together Halley’s memoir with a social history of beef cows. Halley explores what life means, and how life is valued, both cow and gendered human life, and she examines the various paths taken to arrive at the now that, once, was her childhood.
"The essays in this volume are evidence of what Patricia Clough identifies as an affective turn in the humanities and social sciences."