Half Broke Horses

Half Broke Horses

A True-life Novel

Book - 2009
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A true-life novel about Lily Casey Smith (the author's grandmother) who at age six helped her father break horses, at age fifteen left home to teach in a frontier town, and later as a wife and mother runs a vast ranch in Arizona where she survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and the most heartbreaking personal tragedy--but despite a life of hardscrabble drudgery still remains a woman of indomitable spirit.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2009
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781416586289
Characteristics: 272 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


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May 27, 2019

I was hooked from the first sentence! Interesting and fun read.

Feb 11, 2019

By the Same author who wrote The Glass Castle, this book tells the life story of Jeannette's grandmother Lily from a first person narration. A strong-willed woman living on rural land, she shares what life was like living under poverty and what she did to ensure the survival of her family and instilling life lessons in her children. While I did not mind reading this book, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Maybe Lily's life was indeed one of adventure and thrill with her horses, her bootleg liquor, poker, planes, teaching career and more but the amount of detail that went into describing all the events made some of it sound a bit unrealistic. I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it but I don't think won't encourage it either.

Feb 10, 2019

An amazing story about the life of a resilient self made woman and her family in the American Southwest during the first half of the twentieth century. The less than three hundred pages include some interesting details about the local Havasupai people and their way of life.

Nov 21, 2018

Wonderfully done. This is also a "family tree" prequel to The Glass Castle.

Nicr Aug 12, 2018

Straightforward, entertaining account of politically incorrect, ever-controversial "Lily Casey, the mustang-breaking, poker-playing, horse-race-winning schoolmarm of Coconino County" (also rancher, pilot, etc.). "[H]ers is one of those heartwarming stories about indomitable women that will always find an audience" (Publishers Weekly).

Jul 11, 2018

This is the re-creation of the life of her Jeanette Walls' maternal grand­mother, Lily Casey Smith, in the first half of the 20th century, and told in her grandmother’s voice. Anyone who loves the family stories of love and heartbreak in Laura Ingalls Wilder's books will also love this one.

JCLHeatherM Jul 08, 2018

"Anyone who thinks he's [she's] too small to make a difference has never been bit by a mosquito," - Lily Casey Smith

Lily Casey Smith was a pioneer (literally and figuratively) and continued to challenge the world she lived in when she felt convicted to do so. Wearing many hats as a mother, wife, teacher, rancher, and advocate, Lily never settled for second best and refused to give up (though there were many occasions when she could of).

As Jeannette Walls' maternal grandmother, Lily was a constant and consistent force in her granddaughter's life - her death when Jeannette was only eight years old left a great impact. Lily's legacy lives on through Walls' intimate novel about her life (mixing a little fiction to go along with established oral history).

Apr 09, 2018

Lily Casey Smith was an amazing person, let alone woman! I am glad her granddaughter, Jeannette Walls is an author who is capable of telling her story.

Nov 16, 2017

Wonderful, rich and engaging writing. True life story of survival and making something in life off very little or nothing. True human spirit on display. Don’t miss it!

Sep 13, 2017

Loved this book. It was engaging.

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Dec 19, 2010

MelissaBee thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Oct 22, 2010

Karlie85 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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Oct 22, 2010

"We're all just one step up from the beasts and one step down from the angels."


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