My Life as a Mule: a fictionalized memoir or a memoir with a twist

Book Cover


20th Century (multiple decades)

Sj Hylton LeHoven

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“My Life as a Mule” is the story of Molly, the black sheep of her equine family. Her traditional Southern upbringing demands blind conformity. She tries her best to be a “good girl” but brief sojourns into mystic realms show her an alternate way of being and living, a place where she can be herself.


Family, Fantasy, Fable, Young Adult, Folktale, Memoir, Adventure, Comedy,Adventure,Other

Short Summary

Molly’s story opens with her Horse mother on the phone, begging a school principal to not expel her youngest Mule from Kindergarten. Her journey continues to adulthood as she experiences a wide range of life lessons—at school, home, church, and work—until a lifelong friend asks her a random question

Molly is instantly triggered and realizes she has been living a lie. The epiphany brings an awareness that everything in her life has happened for her, not to her. As the floodgates open, she recalls mystical experiences and feels once again the innocent joy of her childhood and love for all beings.


Southern United States

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Internal Journey/Rebirth

Plot - Other Elements

Happy Ending, Meaningful Message, Philosophical Questions, Twist, Coming of Age,Philosophical Questions,Coming of Age

Mature Audience Themes

Information not completed

Main Character Details

Name: Molly

Age: 45

Gender: Female

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Engaging, Adventurous, Badass, Confident, Flexible, Lone Wolf, Modest, Clumsy, Funny, Gracious, Honorable, Leader, Beautiful, Decisive, Educated, Faithful, Heroic, Visionary, Aspiring, Charming, Empathetic, Outspoken, Perseverance, Skillful, Complex, Unapologetic,Adventurous,Empathetic,Educated,Obedient,Visionary

Additional Character Details

Name: Harriet

Age: 20

Gender: Female

Role: Mentor

Key Traits: Decisive, Empathetic, Gracious, Honorable, Engaging, Heroic, Unapologetic, Adventurous, Beautiful, Blunt, Funny, Confident, Faithful, Outspoken, Aspiring, Badass, Charming, Complex,Funny,Faithful

Additional Character Details

Name: Billy

Age: 10

Gender: Male

Role: antagonist

Key Traits: Aggressive, Greedy, Manipulative, Masculine, Sarcastic, Villainous,Blunt,Power Hungry

Additional Character Details

Name: Betsy

Age: 45

Gender: Female

Role: Sidekick

Key Traits: Empathetic, Faithful, Gracious, Honorable, Beautiful, Charming

Development Pitch

One of the main appeals of my book is how it deals with tough issues (racism, sexism, bullying, classism, etc.) in a non-threatening manner. By making all of the characters animals, I feel that I have created an amiable platform for exploring the challenging issues we humans face. I did not write this story with TV or film in mind, but readers have told me repeatedly how they saw the animated story in their mind’s eye. My book could either be made into a film, including the key elements of Molly’s story, or broken into segments for TV. Many more stories could be written to elaborate on the different phases of Molly’s life and journey. During a radio show interview about my book the host kept asking me how I made this story light and deep at the same time. I think the broad range of emotions elicited by Molly’s story is part of the answer. As a young Mule, she wants to please her parents. She soon encounters stereotypes and societal conditioning, however, and is taught that she is supposed to behave in a certain way. In her heart of hearts, Molly knows that these norms are ridiculous and that she has to simply be herself. Molly’s story appeals to a wide age-range. Grandmothers have told me that their eight-year grandchildren loved the book, that they were intrigued by how animals feel and live. Another reader in her 70’s told me that she goes back to my book time and again, learning something new each time. Thank you for considering my book for your next project.

About The Author

Born in 1960, Sj began writing when she received a diary as a gift. She was eleven. Her love of adventure led her to Hawaii where she co-owned a video production company for more than 25-years. Part of that role included writing scripts for clients. Her first work of fiction was a radio play produced by Kaua‘i’s Women in Theatre. She followed up with her first novel “My Life as a Mule,” which debuted in 2018 and is now available as a 2nd edition.

Target Audiences

Age: 35-54,55+,18-34

Target Gender: Female leaning,Universal,Female Leaning,LGBT Leaning

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: Self-Published

Year Published: 2018

Hard Copy Available



ISBN 978-1-951089-00-9 (paperback)




Molly grew up as a young mule learning traditional values from her parents. She is a bit boy crazy in searching for love until she realizes she needs to follow her heart in loving herself. Molly the mule enjoys a successful career as a talented math professor until she quits to spend time with her friends and learn true self-acceptance.

Overall Rating


Point of View


Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: FAIR

Characterization: FAIR

Commerciality: FAIR

Franchise Potential: FAIR

Pace: FAIR

Premise: FAIR

Structure: FAIR

Theme: FAIR

Accuracy of Book Profile

The book profile logline focuses on a small portion of Molly's experiences in discussing about her mystic realm realizations while camping. This doesn't seem like a main plot point of the storyline as the theme of her self-acceptance seems to stem more from her friendship with Betsy. The development pitch also discusses franchise potential rather than the singular book which doesn't make as much sense as the audience is not yet attached to any of the characters. Explaining more why the themes and characters are worth attention may help focus the development pitch on the current story and increase emotional investment.

Draw of Story

The concept of learning what life lessons a mule has to teach is intriguing. The frame story sets up characters quickly and creates expectations for the character journey of the protagonist to achieve self-actualization.

Possible Drawbacks

The logic of the world building can be very confusing at times in terms of social rules and anthropomorphic capabilities. The protagonist's inner conflict is not always apparent or consistent. By setting clear rules for the storyverse, events may be more logical in terms of blocking and such. For example the frame story discusses how the mom horse eats meat on pizza but the narrative also discusses how the mom doesn't eat meat but makes fake meat, but both are told with the same hindsight of the mule narrator.

Use of Special Effects


Primary Hook of Story

The hook is that the mule has many relatable problems to other mammals like human emotions but also specifically mule related problems such as hearing and romance possibilities.

Fanbase Potential

Depending on the type of drame or if there is animation will affect the size of the audience. The adult coming of age themes might be too mature for children as the primary target of animated films so would have a smaller audience. The experimental nature of a live action version might also create a smaller adult audience. This could be a niche cult classic though if it is able to fulfill its potential.

Awards Potential

Based on the audience versus the genre possibilities this is unlikely to have awards potential. Its creativity is a big driving factor, but the style of adaptation and choice in genre would be a deciding factor for any nominations.

Envisioned Budget


Similar Films/TV Series


What’s New About the Story

The originality of the mule story comes from different elements about being a mule specifically that are relatable to other outliers searching for find self-acceptance. For example, Molly's sterility challenge as well as her biting other students and feeling different from her parents. By focusing more on her condition as a mule and less on her humanity, there may be more uniqueness to her story and romances.

Lead Characters

Molly is a stubborn mule who cares for her family so much so that she sometimes goes against her own wishes to uphold their values. Eventually she learns independence and uses her smart to be successful both in her career and finding a true purpose in her social life.

Uniqueness of Story

This is a very memorable premise, but the logic in the world building is confusing at times and the establishment of the internal conflict for the protagonist is delayed.

Possible Formats

Film - Indie, Film - Streaming, Film - Studio, TV Series - Network, TV Series - Cable, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series, TV Series - Streaming

Analyst Recommendation



While the story has many positive points, it has room for improvement (see possible paths below). If you can't change the story at this point, my suggestion is using your notes as a guide to highlight the best aspects of it when taking the next steps, either putting a pitch page together, a treatment, or a presentation.

Tips for Improvement

There is a lot of great life lessons in this piece but focusing on just a few with a clear path of the progress in the protagonist's internal conflict from the beginning would help clarify the message of the narrative to be more cohesive. Setting a firm foundation for the rules of the animal world both socially and physically would also help create more plausibility and logic in the narrative.