Half Broke Horses

6366437I read Jeannette Walls’ memoir The Glass Castle when it first was published and was impressed with her ability to touch people and pull on their emotions.  When I first heard that she’d written a book about her maternal grandmother I was really interested but for whatever reason I never really got around to reading it.  Flash forward to a month ago, I was at Goodwill and found a copy for a dollar and thought it would be irresponsible of me not to buy it.

Half Broke Horses is a little different from her memoir, it’s a “true-life fiction” based on Lily Casey Smith documenting her life in the Southwest in the early half of the last century.  Lily sounds like an amazing, tough, spirited women and a true force of nature.  School teacher, rancher, poker player, selling bootleg liquor, and horse racer – there way no mountain she was afraid to climb.

Her story as relayed through Walls is a nod to a time in American life that is often skimmed over in textbooks – the time between cowboys and wild, untamed deserts, and the population of the southwest (thanks in large part to air conditioners becoming more affordable).  I enjoyed learning more about the history of this era and Lily’s story is one to read!


3 thoughts on “Half Broke Horses

  1. Nice review. I have read “The Glass Castle,” but I was unsure about this book. Although Walls is undoubtedly an excellent writer, the thing that most struck me in The Glass Castle was that all of that… actually happened

    1. That’s one of the main reasons I’m hesitant to read her latest novel The Silver Star because it’s not memoir or true fiction – I’m glad you liked the review though!

      1. I actually wasn’t aware that she had a new one out. Though I will certainly say that misgivings aside, Walls can write. I normally detest memoirs about broken families living in poverty, but there was something so vivid and beautiful about The Glass Castle that you can forget the squalor. If Walls can continue that level of prose…

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