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[Book Review] Made That Way by Susan Ketchen


In this family-fiction sequel to Born That Way, Susan Ketchen reunites readers with the intrepid young Sylvia.

Sylvia is challenged by a genetic disorder, wild about horses, and determined to find solutions to the obstacles presented by her life in general.


She wants to be a real horsewoman and is excited about getting her own horse, even if the horse is arriving at a less-than-perfect time.

Ketchen captures, with humor and pathos, the developing personality and growing pains of a not quite fifteen-year-old girl who would just like to be normal. Sylvia also wants to be treated as an adult, but sometimes, no one seems to listen very closely, and she must puzzle things out on her own.

“Usually it makes me feel better to wear my riding clothes. But today, nothing helps, even when I buckle on my riding helmet and hop on my bike. Somehow I know I’m doomed.”

– Made That Way (Book excerpt)

The strength of this book lies in Ketchen’s examination of some topics that parents and children may find difficult to discuss. What does it mean to be normal or disordered? Where does a young person turn when her parents don’t listen, when she is tormented at school and is now faced – not with her dream horse – but one who appears to be complicating her life even further?

Ketchen’s writing is fast-paced, compelling, and full of surprises. Made That Way can be read in one sitting, but Sylvia’s persistence and creativity in overcoming her life’s challenges will inspire the reader for a lifetime.

About the Author:

Susan Ketchen was born in Nanaimo, B.C. and had a successful Family counseling practice for many years. She now resides on a small Vancouver Island hobby farm with her husband, two horses, two cats and a flock of chickens. Grows That Way, the third book in this series will be published in fall 2011. Visit Susan at: www.susanketchen.ca

This post originally appeared on June 6, 2011. Reviewed by Carol Upton. Updated by the editorial team on August 8, 2020.

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