Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Book Review: Half Broke Horses

This month's choice for my office book club was The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, but since I already read that book several years ago (and really liked it), I decided to pick up her second novel, Half Broke Horses. Although this book is not a memoir, she calls it a "true-life novel" because it is the story of her grandmother, Lily Casey Smith. The story is written in what Walls recalls as Lily's own voice, although she had to embellish here and there to fill in the details.

Lily is no-nonsense, resourceful, and compelling. By age six she was helping her father break horses and at 15 she left home to teach in a frontier town. She learned to drive a car and fly a plane and with her husband ran a vast ranch in Arizona. They raised two children, one of whom is Jeannette's mother, Rosemary Smith Walls, who is portrayed in The Glass Castle.

Half Broke Horses follows Lily through tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression and heartbreaking personal tragedy. At many points the story seemed so outrageous that I couldn't believe I was reading about a real person's life. I loved Lily's spunk and the fact that she never gave up or backed down. I definitely enjoyed this book just as much as Walls' first novel.

1 comment :

  1. Oh good, glad you thought it was good. I've had it in my nightstand drawer for a year now, just been waiting to get to it.

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