Half Broke Horses A True-Life Novel Author:Jeannette Walls Jeannette Walls's memoir The Glass Castle was "nothing short of spectacular" (Entertainment Weekly). Now, in Half Broke Horses, she brings us the story of her grandmother, told in a first-person voice that is authentic, irresistible, and triumphant. — "Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did.&q... more »uot; So begins the story of Lily Casey Smith, Jeannette Walls's no nonsense, resourceful, and spectacularly compelling grandmother. By age six, Lily was helping her father break horses. At fifteen, she left home to teach in a frontier town -- riding five hundred miles on her pony, alone, to get to her job. She learned to drive a car ("I loved cars even more than I loved horses. They didn't need to be fed if they weren't working, and they didn't leave big piles of manure all over the place") and fly a plane. And, with her husband Jim, she ran a vast ranch in Arizona. She raised two children, one of whom is Jeannette's memorable mother, Rosemary Smith Walls, unforgettably portrayed in The Glass Castle.
Lily survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and the most heartbreaking personal tragedy. She bristled at prejudice of all kinds -- against women, Native Americans, and anyone else who didn't fit the mold. Rosemary Smith Walls always told Jeannette that she was like her grandmother, and in this true-life novel, Jeannette Walls channels that kindred spirit. Half Broke Horses is Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults, as riveting and dramatic as Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa or Beryl Markham's West with the Night. Destined to become a classic, it will transfix audiences everywhere.« less
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This book is spell binding. It really brought to life a different time. The writer's grandmother, when she was 15, rode pony for three weeks across New Mexico and Arizona to take a job teaching.
Besides being a good book, this book solved an interesting problem for me. When my 90 year old mother was in the hospital, and we weren't sure that she was going to make it, I read her this book. Sometimes people want company, but we all run out of things to say. And as memory starts to slip we were doing the same topics over and over. So....
I started reading her this book. Everyone loved it. Even my Dad. Soon they were both talking about how the book reminded them of this and that. How things were similar for them and how they were different. At one point, my whole family was there, including my kids, and we had the room pretty full.
When I had to travel back home, Dad took over the reading, because they both wanted to see how it ends.
This is an entertaining, easy ready about the author's grandmother who had quite an interesting life. The story is told in the first-person voice of her grandmother, Lily, so the author embellished where she needed to. It read like stories recounted, not like a cohesive novel. If you havent read The Glass Castle, read this first it would add to the story.
Barbara R. reviewed Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel on
Helpful Score: 1
A great read about a feisty and resourceful woman. The characters were rich with wit and wisdom, and it was both painful and delightful to follow her life's journey. I would have loved the story to expand more into the final years of her life, but it was a worthwhile read.
I loved The Glass Castle, marveling at how such a disfunctional childhood could also be loving and funny. I also loved Half Broke Horses. It fills in some of the blanks on how this family's eccentricities came about. It also paints a wonderful picture of hard-scrabble life in the dry desert west. I highly recommend this book!
Paul C. reviewed Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel on
Helpful Score: 1
Really enjoyed Jeannette Walls look back to her Grandmother's life. And the hints of what was to come from her mother and father in "Glass Castles". Although technically a novel, you get the feel for real experiences and thoughts - as though Ms Walls found some secret way to tap into her Grandmother's past. Definitely recommended, especially if you have already read - or plan to read - Glass Castles.
Quick read, and really entertaining and enjoyable. In retrospect I wonder if I would read this BEFORE Glass Castle as that would be chronologically accurate. I enjoyed this book a lot more than Jeannette's first, the characters were simply more likable to me, and I adore a strong female lead. This thrilled me in my love for historical fiction. I had also read The Empire of the Summer Moon right before, which although that was non-fiction, it really provided a GREAT foundation for this novel. Recommend.