Clarissa's Reviews > Half Broke Horses

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
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Aug 08, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, horses, book-worth-reading

Half Broke Horses by Jeanneatte Walls is based on stories she was told about her grandmother growing up. It has been described as a true-life novel. I think that means that it is based around true events and on real people, but that she took some liberties. For instance, it's told in the first person, with Lily Casey's distinct voice.

I felt like I was working along side Lily as she told me about her life, trying desperately to leave life lessons behind. Some of those lessons might include, the value of hard work. At the beginning of the novel, Lily tells us a story about how she helped save her brother and sister from a flash flood. At the end of a long night sitting in a tree, her mother comes out and tells them she saved them by praying all night long. She looks at her dad and says, "no angel's saved us, I did that, I kept them awake all night long, no angel". Then her dad looked at her and said, "Maybe the guardian angel was you." I really liked that. That pride in her hard work, set the tone for the rest of the book. Lily Casey Smith was a very proud, hard-working, tough, woman who felt it was her "Calling" to teach the world lessons.

I'm not usually into the whole preachy book thing, but every once in a while, a book comes along that does it in a way that I don't mind. I appreciated hearing Lily tell me these lessons. She reminded me of a lot of women in my life. Not one of them had all of Lily's characteristics (I've never known a woman to point a gun at a Jehova's Witness) but all of them have at least one. My mother grew up, at least in part, in a dug out home. It was nice to hear about how that was built and lived in. My step-mom has the same attitude toward reusing things over and over. And both of my grandmothers loved horses. That may be the biggest reason why this book struck a chord with me.
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