Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Wells


Jeannette Walls's memoir The Glass Castle was "nothing short of spectacular" (Entertainment Weekly). 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.

My thoughts:
Loved this book ........ a good read to empower women. The story is told from Lilly's point of view. She is a strong, vibrant who is really "ahead of her time". She was born into a poor family who made their home in a "dug out" on the plains of Arizona. At 15 years, she rode her horse Patches for 28 days to work as a school teacher in a remote village all on her own. From breaking horses at a very young age to flying a twin engine plane in adulthood -- Lilly reminds us that with grit and determination, we can suceed at whatever adversity comes our way as women. What a marvelous book from a Super hats off to Jeaneatte Wells who told the story of her Grandmother so we can all be inspired.

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