Forever the Wild Mare is an unforgettable, beautifully written coming-of-age story of a young boy's love for a wild horse. Set in Washington, D.C. in the early 60's, Ann Cottrell Free's deft, lively writing grabs the reader from the first page and doesn't let go until the last. Jebby, the main character, a fourteen-year-old newcomer to Washington from the hills of Virginia, is the son of a single mother who has moved to the city to seek a better life for her son. His daily trips to the National Zoo soon find him obsessed with one of the last Mongolian horses in captivity. A richly-layered plot quickly places the sensitive, searching Jebby in entanglements with middle-school bullies, along with encounters with a brilliant old Scotsman, a Tibetan Lama, and an assertive young classmate named Katie, who happens to be a senator's daughter. Skillfully woven into the narrative are fascinating excursions into the history of the Mongolian wild horse, senate committee hearings on adolescent gangs, and the story of wild animals in captivity from American frontier times to the ancient world of Genghis Khan in Central Asia. Lessons on the fragility of nature and the tenets of Buddhism are also intertwined seamlessly into the narrative. The cosmopolitan aspects of life in the nation's capital are captured easily and with an insider's friendly, in-the-moment tone. But the passion of Jebby for Isabella, the wild horse, and the life lessons he learns in struggling to understand her, lie at the heart of this amazing book. A true classic, written by an author ahead of her time in her concern for the preservation of wild places and the animals who inhabit them. I highly recommend this book.