From the author of The Glass Castle and Hang the Moon—“Walls vividly depicts her astonishing, resilient grandmother with a lightness of touch that is plainspoken yet heartfelt” (Chicago Tribune). Half Broke Horses has transfixed 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.
For the first 10 years of her life, Lily Casey Smith, the narrator of this "true-life novel" by her granddaughter, Walls, lived in a dirt dugout in west Texas. Walls, whose megaselling memoir, The Glass Castle, recalled her own upbringing, writes in what she recalls as Lily's plainspoken voice, whose recital provides plenty of drama and suspense as she ricochets from one challenge to another. Having been educated in fits and starts because of her parents' penury, Lily becomes a teacher at age 15 in a remote frontier town she reaches after a solo 28-day ride. Marriage to a bigamist almost saps her spirit, but later she weds a rancher with whom she shares two children and a strain of plucky resilience. (They sell bootleg liquor during Prohibition, hiding the bottles under a baby's crib.) Lily is a spirited heroine, fiercely outspoken against hypocrisy and prejudice, a rodeo rider and fearless breaker of horses, and a ruthless poker player. Assailed by flash floods, tornados and droughts, Lily never gets far from hardscrabble drudgery in several states New Mexico, Arizona, Illinois but hers is one of those heartwarming stories about indomitable women that will always find an audience.
Half Broke Horses
This book was just as good as the Glass Castle.... I couldn't put it down!! It was a little slow in some parts... But other than that.. I loved it and highly recommend it!!!
Interesting work of fiction that reads like a memoir. Do yourself a favor and read this book. You'll love the Casey family!
I was hooked!
I absolutely loved Walls's first novel, yet I was hesitant to pick this one up. I was pleasantly surprised. I couldn't wait to read about each adventure because I fell in love with the main character. It was hard to finish knowing the story would be over.