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Half Broke Horses by jeanette walls
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Half Broke Horses (original 2009; edition 2009)

by jeanette walls

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,7081682,180 (3.98)1 / 192
Member:amylynnd
Title:Half Broke Horses
Authors:jeanette walls
Info:scribner (2009), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:None

Work details

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls (2009)

  1. 11
    These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 (P.S.) by Nancy Turner (Electablue)
  2. 01
    Last of the Saddle Tramps by Mesannie Wilkins (SunnySD)
    SunnySD: If you enjoyed Jeannette Walls' tale of her grandmother's adventures, but wish it had been nonfiction, Wilkin's journey across country with her four-footed companions will be right up your alley.
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Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
Hard to find fault with this personal account of the author's plucky grandmother. The details of ranch life in the Southwest during the 20s and 30s were particularly interesting. ( )
  emilyingreen | May 28, 2014 |
Half Broke Horses takes us through a time in our history of which we only guess about. For that I give the book high praise. However, although this book was interesting, and definitely worth reading, it left me wanting something more.

I read, The Glass Castle, first, and if I tore off the covers, I would not be able to tell one book from the other. The back cover mentions, ‘Jeannette Walls channels that kindred spirit’, meaning her grandmother. I didn’t read it that way. I was still very curious as to how Lily Casey Smith felt about all those true life adventures she experienced. What about love? Love of her friends, husband, even her own children? What blast of emotions did she feel when her friend died! What about her sister?

The book was very detailed about the descriptions and adventures, but dry with the human interactions. It also dribbled to a close after her daughter, Rosemary got married. Since this was a true life novel, I would have liked it to have completed her and her husband’s lives. It didn’t even let us know how they died, or who died first. If her husband died first, how did she manage?

The book was finished, just not enough. It left me feeling a little irritated because the book was very good. It had so much potential. ( )
  lsfayne | Apr 16, 2014 |
Read Glass Castle. It is wonderful. This is a terrific addition. It tells the story of the author's grandmother and gives insight into her mother. Her mother's story is in Glass Castle. A great pair! ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
3.5 stars

Jeanette Walls decided to write about her grandmother's life. She decided, since there were a lot of blanks to fill in (and dialogue), she would call it fiction, but she also considers it an oral history of her family. Her grandmother, Lily, was born in the early 20th century and was a spunky woman! She mostly grew up on a ranch, but left to become a teacher. She also lived in the big city of Chicago for a while, before moving back to a ranch. She married, had kids, and continued to move around.

I enjoyed this. I (mostly) liked Lily and her spunk, though I didn't agree with some of the stuff she did (I guess, in part, it was the times). It wasn't nearly as good (I didn't think) as The Glass Castle, but it was still enjoyable. ( )
  LibraryCin | Feb 12, 2014 |
I was a little worried by the slow start that this book wouldn't measure up to Walls previous book, The Glass Castle, which was a memoir to remember. Half Broke Horses picked up the pace a quarter of the way in and I enjoyed not only the short chapters, but the characters, time and the story Walls was trying to relate to us.
It's unusual in the fact that she writes it first person as her grandmother would have. It works even though there are a few awkward spots. It took me a chapter or two to realize that Rosemary was Walls mother, from The Glass Castle, and it provides insight on who she was and why she raised her children in such a haphazard and carefree way.
The women in the family, from Lily Casey (Smith) to Rosemary Smith Walls are strong, fearless, outspoken women. The story is set partly during the depression and you get a strong sense of the desperation of the times though the family is very resourceful. Freedom is what is important to this family.
I marked a couple of paragraphs or quotes that are remarkable:
"When people kill themselves, they think they are ending the pain, but all they are doing is passing it on to those they leave behind."
"My father used to tell the story about how, for centuries, the Havasu men got up in the morning, spent the day hunting and fishing, came home, played with their children, and lay down with their woman at night. They thought life was pretty good, but then the white man came along and said, 'I have a better idea.'"
"...a blizzard like that would have been a call to acton, forcing us to run around collecting firewood, bringing in the horses, and carting hay to the range. ...Living in the city, all we did was turn up the radiator and listen to the hiss and clank of the pipes."
"Levi's we didn't wash at all. They shrank too much, and it weakened the threads. So we wore them and wore them until they were shiny with mud, manure, tallow, cattle slobber, bacon fat, axle grease, and hoof oil, and them we wore them some more. Eventually, the Levi's reached a point of grime saturation where they couldn't get any dirtier, where they had the feel of oilskin and had become not just waterproof but briar-proof, and that was when you knew you had really broken them in. When Levi's reached that degree of conditioning, they were sort of like smoke-cured ham or aged bourbon, and you couldn't pay a cowboy to let you wash his."
( )
  exbrook | Feb 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
The pert style of “Half Broke Horses” is much more repetitive and grating than the more spontaneous-sounding voice Ms. Walls used to describe her own life.

But the author comes from a family that knew how to lure horses using grain, not rope. And she has inherited a version of that skill. So she has managed to make her second book almost as inviting as her first, even though its upright heroine is never as startling as Ms. Walls’s parents were.
 
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Epigraph
It was the great north wind that made the Vikings.
—Old Norwegian saying
Dedication
This book is dedicated
to all teachers,
and especially to

Rose Mary Walls,
Phyllis Owens, and
Esther Fuchs

And in memory of
Jeannette Bivens and
Lily Casey Smith
First words
Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did.
Quotations
I never met a kid I couldn't teach. Every kid was good at something, and the trick was to find out what it was, then use it to teach him everything else.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Book description
Publisher Comments:
Jeannette Walls's The Glass Castle was nothing short of spectacular (Entertainment Weekly). Now she brings us the story of her grandmother — told in a voice so authentic and compelling that the book is destined to become an instant classic.

"Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did." So begins the story of Lily Casey Smith, in Jeannette Walls's magnificent, true-life novel based on her no-nonsense, resourceful, hard working, 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, all alone, to get to her job. She learned to drive a car ("I loved cars even more than I loved horses. They didn't need to be fed if they weren't working, and they didn't leave big piles of manure all over the place") and fly a plane, and, with her husband, ran a vast ranch in Arizona. She raised two children, one of whom 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. 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. It will transfix readers everywhere.
Haiku summary
Hearse full of schoolkids?

It's just their bus, don't worry

No dead kids! It's safe.

(mazeway)

No descriptions found.

(see all 2 descriptions)

A true-life novel about Lily Casey Smith (the author's grandmother) who at age six helped her father break horses, at age fifteen left home to teach in a frontier town, and later as a wife and mother runs a vast ranch in Arizona where she survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and the most heartbreaking personal tragedy--but despite a life of hardscrabble drudgery still remains a woman of indomitable spirit.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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