Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel (Hardcover)
October 2009 Indie Next List
“Jeannette Walls has written another blockbuster. I could not put down this story of her grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, and her determination to survive and to help others around her to survive, too. This story will grab you immediately and continue in a compelling and forceful way all the way to the end.”
— Roberta Rubin, The Book Stall At Chestnut, Winnetka, IL
Winter 2011 Reading Group List
“This is a marvelous tribute to Jeannette Walls' unforgettable grandmother, Lily Casey Smith. Smith was born in West Texas in 1901, and lived a tough, rough life with her own brand of grace. She didn't like nonsense, prejudice, or whining, but she had a great sense of humor along with her practical, hardworking nature. This is a stunning account of the times and most especially the indomitable Lily.
An outstanding choice for all reading groups.”
— Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM
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.
“Jeannette Walls . . . once again proves that the combination of gifted storyteller with great stories is both rare and intoxicating."--The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“[An] eloquent tribute to a pragmatic heroine . . . A powerhouse—fast-moving, fearless and impossible to forget.”—Michelle Green, People
[Jeannette Walls is] the third generation of a line of indomitable women whose paths she has inscribed on the permanent record, enriching the common legend of our American past.”—Liesl Schillinger, New York Times Book Review (cover review)