Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel

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Simon and Schuster, Oct 6, 2009 - Fiction - 288 pages
32 Reviews
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.

“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 and fly a plane. And, with her husband, Jim, she ran a vast ranch in Arizona. She raised two children, one who 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 readers everywhere.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Alphawoman - LibraryThing

Read it in a big gulp. Loved the no nonsense Lily and the telling of her life story. Dovetailed Glass castles. Though she called it fiction because she had to shade in a lot of missing information and address conflicting accounts of her family's history. Excellent book. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - heavyleg - LibraryThing

This rich, evocative literary novel-memoir is a true delight. The author recreated her grandmother's life as a story of fiction, but based on the true stories handed down through the family by her mother. Jeannette Walls doesn't disappoint. Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Jeannette Walls graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, has been a New York Times bestseller for more than six years. She is also the author of the instant New York Times bestsellers The Silver Star and Half Broke Horses, which was named one of the ten best books of 2009 by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. Walls lives in rural Virginia with her husband, the writer John Taylor.

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