Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Half Broke Horses

Half Broke Horses: A True-Life NovelHalf Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn't expect to like this book, but I was hooked from the first page. This is so much more than a story about horses (in fact, horses only have a small bit to do with the story). It's a story about another time, a woman who lived her life by her rules. The main character's voice was so clear and stayed so true to character. The author really did an amazing job bringing her grandmother off the page.

Pub. Date: September 2010

Synopsis: "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 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.

Recommended Reading:
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd
Day After Night by Anita Diamant
A Gate in the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
Ape House by Sara Gruen

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