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Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel


Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9781416586289
ISBN10: 1416586288
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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sackbaker, September 20, 2011 (view all comments by sackbaker)
I had to read this for book club, but I found I couldn't put it down. WOW! Interesting how families (not so long ago) had to figure out life. I can't wait to read her other book.
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alice_barefoot, January 3, 2011 (view all comments by alice_barefoot)
I raise horses and found this book to be very realistic. A crippled man uses his young daughter to finish the training on horses and then sell them. I liked this book for it's gritty portrayal of ranch living.
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i8pixistix, March 9, 2010 (view all comments by i8pixistix)
Lily Casey Smith has sass, gumption, focus, drive, wit and intelligence and in a first-person account with her grandmother's voice, Jeannette Walls gives us another outstanding book filled with wonderful stories.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Denise Morland, October 31, 2009 (view all comments by Denise Morland)
Half Broke Horses is Jeannette Walls interpretation of the life of her grandmother, Lily Casey Smith. She calls it a true-life novel as the story is told from the perspective of Lily herself and some of the details are intuited rather then factual. This adds to the story rather than detracting from it as it contributes depth and fleshes out the story. Its a grand story of a woman who lived life large. Lily was a tough, smart, outspoken, and resourceful woman who lived through floods, tornadoes, marriage to a crumb-bum husband, and selling bootleg booze to support her family. She never apologized for who she was or for doing what she believed was right.
I immediately liked Lily Casey Smith and wanted to keep reading to see what would become of her. Her utter frankness was humorous and her ability to pull herself up by her bootstraps admirable. The western landscape is a major character with its droughts, floods, canyons, and plains. The writing is beautifully descriptive yet the conversation and people are authentically captured as well. Half Broke Horses is a well-written, entertaining, easy read!
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Product Details

A Novel
Walls, Jeannette
Gloss, Molly
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
General Fiction
Autobiographical fiction
Smith, Lily Casey
jeanette walls; glass castle; silver star; best of 2009; 10 best books of 2009; christopher award; books for a better life award; literature to life award; alex award; frank mccourt; mary karr; memoir; arizona; ranching; great depression;
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
9 x 6 in

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Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel Used Hardcover
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Product details 336 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9781416586289 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Lily Casey Smith is a woman who won't take no for an answer if there's any way around it. She embarks on journeys and has experiences that only someone with iron-willed character could survive: As a child, she gets her young siblings up a cottonwood tree just before a flash flood thunders through, and keeps them clinging through the night till the waters recede; at age 15, she travels alone, on a pony, from her home in New Mexico to a teaching job in Arizona; and she moves to Chicago as a young woman without even a high school diploma. Half Broke Horses gives us Lily's life as a series of vignettes. This is old-fashioned storytelling, and reading it feels very much like sitting at a grandparent's knee. What is missing in terms of a psychological portrait of the character is made up for by the astonishing life of this spunky, independent, resourceful woman. Lily flourishes, living life on her own terms. She's a delight.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "For the first 10 years of her life, Lily Casey Smith, the narrator of this 'true-life novel' by her granddaughter, Walls, lived in a dirt dugout in west Texas. Walls, whose megaselling memoir, The Glass Castle, recalled her own upbringing, writes in what she recalls as Lily's plainspoken voice, whose recital provides plenty of drama and suspense as she ricochets from one challenge to another. Having been educated in fits and starts because of her parents' penury, Lily becomes a teacher at age 15 in a remote frontier town she reaches after a solo 28-day ride. Marriage to a bigamist almost saps her spirit, but later she weds a rancher with whom she shares two children and a strain of plucky resilience. (They sell bootleg liquor during Prohibition, hiding the bottles under a baby's crib.) Lily is a spirited heroine, fiercely outspoken against hypocrisy and prejudice, a rodeo rider and fearless breaker of horses, and a ruthless poker player. Assailed by flash floods, tornados and droughts, Lily never gets far from hardscrabble drudgery in several states — New Mexico, Arizona, Illinois — but hers is one of those heartwarming stories about indomitable women that will always find an audience." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "The recipes in this book are just like Grand Central Bakery: brilliant but not flashy, tasty but not self-absorbed, and full of homey charm. You will be smitten!" Tom Douglas, chef-owner of Dahlia Lounge, Lola, and Serious Pie, and author of Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen
"Synopsis" by , Walls's The Glass Castle was nothing short of spectacular (Entertainment Weekly). Now Walls presents this magnificent, true-life novel based on her no-nonsense, resourceful, hardworking, and spectacularly compelling grandmother.
"Synopsis" by , From the bestselling author of The Hearts of Horses and The Jump-Off Creek, an absorbing, plainspoken, elegantly rendered novel about a young cowboy who escapes a family tragedy and travels to Hollywood to become a stunt rider in the movies
"Synopsis" by ,
In a new novel from the best-selling author of The Hearts of Horses and The Jump-Off Creek, a young ranch hand escapes a family tragedy and travels to Hollywood to become a stunt rider.
In 1938, nineteen-year-old ranch hand Bud Frazer sets out for Hollywood. His little sister has been gone a couple of years now, his parents are finding ranch work and comfort for their loss where they can, but for Bud, Echol Creek, where he grew up and first learned to ride, is a place he can no longer call home. So he sets his sights on becoming a stunt rider in the movies — and rubbing shoulders with the great screen cowboys of his youth.

On the long bus ride south, Bud meets a young woman who also harbors dreams of making it in the movies, though not as a starlet but as a writer, a real writer. Lily Shaw is bold and outspoken, confident in ways out of proportion with her small frame and bookish looks. But the two strike up an unlikely kinship that will carry them through their tumultuous days in Hollywood — and, as it happens, for the rest of their lives.

Acutely observed, Falling from Horses charts what was to be a glittering year in the movie business through the wide eyes and lofty dreams of two people trying to make their mark on the world, or at least make their way in it. Molly Gloss weaves a remarkable tale of humans and horses, hope and heartbreak, narrated by one of the most winning narrators ever to walk off the page.

"Synopsis" by , 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.

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