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Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel [Hardcover]

Jeannette Walls
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, Large Print 21.41  
Hardcover, 6 Oct 2009 --  
Paperback 5.59  
Audio, CD, Audiobook 24.61  

Book Description

6 Oct 2009
A debut novel based on the extraordinary life of Jeannette Walls' maternal grandmother - a sassy, straight-talking heroine for whom saving lives, taming wild horses and beating ranch hands at poker are all in a day's work. Born in 1901 in the rolling grassland of West Texas, at the age of 15, with very little formal education, Lily Casey Smith left home to begin teaching in a frontier town, riding 500 miles on her beloved pony, Patch, all alone, to get to her job. She went on, with her husband, to run an 180,000 acre ranch in Arizona and to raise two children, one of whom is Jeannette's memorable mother, Rosemary Smith Walls. Readers will love and marvel at this intrepid woman, for her fearlessness, her courage, her wicked sense of humour. A true adventurer!
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company (6 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416586288
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416586289
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.9 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,967,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


`Half Broke Horses has immense power and readability' --The Times Novwmber 21st 2009 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Frills, Just Darned Good Writing 21 May 2011
Jeannette Walls does it again, sharing her family history beautifully; digging deep and not holding back. Half Broke Horses, a quick read with narrative that carries you along at a horses gallop through rough desert life, glamorous Chicago, one room classrooms. It's a first hand account of early America told blunt and to the point. One gets the feel that is how Lily Casey Smith would have wanted her life to be told, no frills, just darned good writing. This book makes you think of where you come from, of your ancestors and what runs in your own blood.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended 17 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I came to this 'novel' after reading The Glass Castle by the same author. Whilst not quite as memorable as The Glass Castle, Half Broke Horses tells the fascinating life story of Walls Grandmother, Lilly Casey Smith, and leaves off almost where Glass Castle begins, if you have the opportunity read them both starting with this one.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful voice 24 Sep 2010
I read this book on the recommendation of a friend from Texas, and since I read it I have recommended it to many of my friends. It is a wonderful book, written as a record of an amazing life, the life of the authors maternal grandmother. I loved this book and would recommend that you read this first and then move on the her story based on the life of her mother.
I loved her grandmother's voice, and I read the book at a gallop, I could hardly bear to put it down.
Read "The Glass Castle " after you have read this book, I guarantee you that you will love them both. A great find and an author I look forward to reading again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Half Broken Horses 15 Nov 2011
Brilliant book! I enjoyed this book form beginning to end. It reads more of a story than a memoir, kept me interested all the way through. It was a shame it had to end.
I would definitely recommend reading this book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a highly evocative account of a woman living in the Southwest States in the 1930s, describing the harsh conditions she encountered in her family life, and after breaking free and struggling to make a life for herself with scant resources. It is written in an understated and calm manner, which bring the dramatic events, which overtake her into even sharper focus. Knowing this region well, I was impressed by the depiction of landscape and climate and their inevitable and often doom-laden influence on the lives of the characters. Altogether an excellent read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely lazy read on a laxy afternoon! 18 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The story transported me to a place I wish I knew personally! Magical and wll written, I loved it and hope to read more along a similar theme!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sassy 12 July 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Scarlett O'Hara (of Gone with the Wind) was my kind of gal. She was tough, she was sassy, she knew what she wanted, and she never let anything or anyone get in her way." - Lily Casey Smith in HALF BROKE HORSES

Back in 2008, I read and reviewed Jeannette Walls's memoir of growing-up, The Glass Castle: A Memoir. In that review, I wrote:

"What's remarkable about Jeannette's story is her lack of bitterness towards her parents. Only on a couple of occasions does she even hint at laying blame on them for irresponsibility and negligence. Besides, her love for them endures. To me, and perhaps other readers with more `normal' childhoods, Rex's and Rose Mary's treatment of their offspring was neglect verging on abuse."

Jeannette's original thought was to pen a sequel focusing on her mother's childhood. But, in HALF BROKE HORSES, she goes back one generation further to focus on her maternal grandmother, Lily Casey Smith. The story is a novelized autobiography told in the first person by Lily. (Since the narrative eventually includes Lily's daughter/Jeannette's mother Rosemary - or Rose Mary as she preferred to be called - author Walls accomplishes both purposes.)

Just as Lily appreciated the character of the fictional Scarlett O'Hara, so the reader may well appreciate the character of the real-life Lily. She was tough and independent in an age when women were still considered, by and large, to be the weaker sex.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I felt the heat and dust in this gripping read 1 May 2011
I really loved this book. The author puts you right there on the ranch in the heat, in the mud and in the sunshine. She painted the picture perfectly to place you with Lily at every step of her journey.
Really great read and all finished in two days flat.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for the book. 0 stars for the narration!
This review is for the audiobook version:

Jeanette Walls writes a great book but is a TERRIBLE narrator -- which explains my rating! Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sandy
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book
A true story of the author's childhood living in caravans all over the country. She brings to life her wacky family, and writes with excellent skill and humor. So many adventures! Read more
Published 7 months ago by Liverpool Lass
3.0 out of 5 stars Unfinished
Not sure about this book, made a start a while ago but did not exactly grip me and in fact moved on to another book. Will give it another go at some point.
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. A. M. Beard
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
Very fast read. Easy going, I wanted to read this one before Glass Castle. I hope we can get this on kindle before too long. Hard living life of a woman in a mans world. Read more
Published 15 months ago by sonia heard
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
This was such an enjoyable book. Really couldnt put it down. Took it away on holiday and it was great. Would recommend
Published 15 months ago by willowby67
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be read before the Glass Castle Book
Such an honest and real account of life ! Don't want to give anything away, however, it brings "home" the challenges we face when deciding to flee the nest (home) and make... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Shona
4.0 out of 5 stars Kept me interested and wanting more,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Well written and interesting book about the history of America in that era. Really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anybody. Good book for a Book Club to discuss. Read more
Published 18 months ago by JuliaPeculiar
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely read
Loved this book. It was an easy read but still evocative and interesting. I feel that I learnt a lot about life in another time and place and would highly recommend it.
Published 19 months ago by jesa
5.0 out of 5 stars Just fantastic
I just loved this book. I rarely laugh out loud when reading but I did reading this book. It's highly recomendable if you like to read books about strong independant women.
Published 19 months ago by Lisa Nissen
5.0 out of 5 stars Half Broke Ireland
Brilliant read in these hard economic times. Forget life coach books, this is all you need. I wish I was half as tough as Lily Casey Smith.
Published on 26 Sep 2011 by Jay
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