Gretchen's Reviews > Half Broke Horses

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
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's review
Mar 22, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: read-2011
Read in March, 2011

This was the perfect plane read. Great set-up scene, strong first-person narrator, a believeable and compelling situation. There's no question Jeannette Walls is a good writer.

But I didn't love the book. I think my issue was the pacing. There didn't seem to be a story, other than than Lily's life events. There was drama, but no issues stood out more strongly than others. For most of the novel, it felt like my Gramma telling her "olden days" stories. (I LOVE olden days stories, but they came in the form of 1-2 stories before bed, not a whole 285 pages worth.) The closest thing to story for me was after the children were born, as Walls begins to show how Lily's experiences shape her parenting, and the impact that had on Rosemary - whom we met first in Walls' other novel.

I'd be interested to see the response of someone who hadn't read The Glass Castle first. Also, for comparison as standalone story of the Wild West about a generation earlier, I'd strongly recommend These is My Words, by Nancy Turner.
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