Friday, May 23, 2014

Half Broke Horses

"Half Broke Horses"(Audio)
by Jeannette Walls

I read the Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls many years ago and loved it.  Sadly I wasn't writing about the books I was reading at that time.  It was a memoir of growing up with parents who were dreamers and drifters.  Parts of it romanticizing (my take on it) the childhood of living without boundaries and much of it horrific, living homeless, cold, and hungry. 

This prequel delves into the history of Ms. Walls' family, through the life of her maternal grandmother.  Ms. Walls calls it a "True Life Novel" as she has filled in and embellished, as a writer, the stories passed down in her family.  I don't believe she has embellished on facts, so much, as taken liberties with conversation and such, as the story is told through the voice of her grandmother.

Ms. Walls tells the story of this remarkable woman, her grandmother, Lily, starting with a time in our history where cars were just a vision of the future and families struggled daily to make a living off the land.  Lily was a bright, courageous and adventurous woman.  As a teen she rode by horse alone for days to take a job teaching a couple of states away.  She later moved to a big city to find work just to end up as a maid. She fell in love with and married a man who already had a wife and children, unbeknown to her.  

She left the city and returned to teaching when teachers were scarce due to the war. She married, raised a family, eventually got her college degree, helped run a ranch, learned to fly a plane, continued teaching school and more.  A true pioneer coming into the industrial age.  

Walls also tells of the life of Lily's daughter Rosemary, who was to become her mother.  Initially she wanted to tell Rosemary's story, but her mother insisted the real story was about Lily.  It's hard to believe the book could be as entertaining without Lily.  

I enjoyed this story very much and I'm now inspired to re-read The Glass Castle, something I rarely do.  

Four of Five Shots by me.  


  1. I am always happy when I find a blog where readers write about the books they read. It has been awhile since I read Half-Broke Horses but I remembered it well after reading your post. I also use this book as a decoration I like it so much. I am looking forward to your books. I am listening to a book on tape now, the Rosie Project. I'm not sure whether I like it or not.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Peggy. I pretend I am writing for an audience but I never know if I really am or not. The Rosie Project is on my to-read list, but the list is so long I have no idea if I'll ever actually get to it or not. I think another friend was a little disappointed in it as well.