Friday, April 23, 2010

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls~★★★★

Author: Jeannette Walls
Half Broke Horses
Release Date:
October 6th, 2009
Scribner, 1st edition
Based on true story

Book Jacket: "'Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did.' 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 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 Wallls 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 readers everywhere."
Taryn's Review:
I loved Jeannette Walls's memoir The Glass Castle. It was one of those books I finished in one reading. I was pleasantly excited when I saw this book on the bookshelf at the library!

Half Broke Horses, while it doesn't have the same magic that The Glass Castle did, was still a darn good read. Lily Casey Smith had a childhood that began in West Texas and ended up in Arizona, and Walls took the book in the direction where Lily was portrayed with the same dryness that West Texas and Arizona are known for. Lily said things just like they are, didn't dwell on much, and did what needed to be done no matter what.

There was a point in the book where I teared up (the personal tragedy the jacket talked about). Walls, in keeping with the fashion of the book, didn't build up to the event, didn't talk about Lily's emotions, but simply mentioned the event and moved on, which almost made it that much more painful for me to read. And the closing line of that chapter was heart-wrenching.

I would definitely recommend this book. For those that read The Glass Castle, again, it's not up the caliber of greatness that I felt that book was, but this is another book that makes you not want to turn out the light in bed so you can keep reading.


  1. I am so glad you reviewed this. I loved the Glass Castle and I saw this book recently but I put it back on the shelf because I had 3 other books in my hands.

    I will have to pick it up next time I go to Chapters.


  2. Thanks for stopping by today! I may have to read this book. It sounds really interesting and I've never heard of it!