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Half Broke Horses A True-life Novel (Hardcover)

Author:  Jeannette Walls
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Learn more about Half Broke Horses:

Format: Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1416586288
ISBN-13: 9781416586289
Sku: 211299279
Publish Date: 10/6/2009
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 9.25H x 6.25L x 1T
Pages:  272
Age Range:  NA
See more in Biographical
Jeannette Walls's memoir The Glass Castle was "nothing short of spectacular"

Now, in Half Broke Horses, she brings us the story of her grandmother, told in a first-person voice that is authentic, irresistible, and triumphant.

"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 ("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 Jim, she 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. 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 audiences everywhere.

From the Publisher:
The author offers a novel based on the life of her grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, who learned to break horses in childhood, journeyed 500 miles on pony as a teen to become a teacher, and ran a vast ranch in Arizona with her husband while raising two children, including Rosemary Smith Walls, portrayed in the author's acclaimed The Glass Castle.
Jeannette Walls mined her own life and the life of her idiosyncratic parents for her blockbuster memoir THE GLASS CASTLE. Now for her "true life" novel HALF BROKE HORSES she uses the rich material of her real-life grandmother to tell an unforgettable story of a spirited woman living a rugged life in the American southwest. Lily Casey Smith, the novel's narrator, grew up in poverty in Texas and by the age of six was already helping her father break horses. By fifteen she was out on her own, traveling hundreds of miles to find work. Despite her bad luck--an abusive bigamist husband, natural catastrophes of all kinds, and the abject impoverishment of The Great Depression--Lily is full of pluck. Her headstrong nature and powerful sense of social justice sometimes get her into predicaments, but her indomitable spirit and can-do attitude gets her back out of them. Selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the 10 Best Books of 2009.
Entertainment Reviews
Expert Review Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls - Book Review
By: Wisteria Leigh Reviews
Published on: 11/11/2009 2:46 PM
Jeannette Walls is shaping up to be one of this decade's most fascinating storytellers. The adventures of her family in The Glass Castle were mesmerizing and truly an unforgettable read. With a pen that glows with brilliance, her writing in Half Broke Horses is bedazzling. In her words, this is the true life novel of her grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, who died when the author was eight. Half Broke Horses portrays her grandmother’s life told through all of the many stories she heard as a child. the full review


"Walls does her grandmother proud in this historically revealing and triumphant novel of a fearless, progressive woman who will not be corralled....Fact, fiction, either way, every tall-tale episode in Lily's rough-and-tumble life is hugely entertaining and provocative, while Walls prose is as crystal clear and reviving as the water Lily cherishes in the high desert." (starred review) - Donna Seaman 09/01/2009

"[I]n an elegant act of literary transubstantiation, Walls gives first person voice to a kinswoman born too soon to participate in today's memoir boom. She also provides further insight into how she herself got to be the tough, tender, fearless writer she is." - Lisa Schwarzbaum 10/09/2009

"[T]he 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." - Janet Maslin 10/07/2009

"Through the adventures of Lily Casey--mustang breaker, schoolteacher, ranch wife, bootlegger, poker player, racehorse rider, bush pilot and mother of two--Walls revisits the adrenaline-charged frontier background that gave her own mother a lifelong taste for vicissitude." - Liesl Schillinger 10/15/2009

"The portrait Walls seems most charmed by is that of tough, headstrong women who make their own luck with whatever they possess, learning from mistakes along the way....[I]n this case, Walls is the one figuring out what is learned, just as we are each left to make sense of how those who came before us shape who we are now." - Christine Thomas 11/03/2009

Product Attributes

Product attributeBook Format:   Hardcover
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0272
Product attributePublisher:   Scribner Book Company
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