Customer Review

138 of 150 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just Read It ...., July 25, 2009
This review is from: Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel (Hardcover)
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This is not as good as her previous book, "The Glass Castles," which I could not put down. This book is a "true-life novel" based on Walls' grandmother, her mother's mother. And it is a wonderful book. Lily Casey Smith was no lily-livered woman who fainted at the slightest urge (Lily's mom did do that on occasion). Lily was the oldest child in her family and by the age of 6 she was helping her father break in horses, a no easy feat for a child, let alone a grown man. Lily was a woman in every sense of the word ... practical, no-nonsense, hard-working and honest. Even though Walls is writing a novel based on her grandmother's life, Walls' words bring the woman to life in every word of the page.

This is a different writing style from Walls' memoir, where it was a thoughtful prose designed to get the reader to read more into a childhood that was hard and filled with parents who couldn't stay put in one place nor could they raise their children. The children raised themselves. In this book, Lily was written to be a tough woman who had faced desperate times ... such as hiding bootleg liquor underneath her son's crib. She did what she could to make ends meet. Even her marriage to Big Jim was practical though I sense through Walls' writing that there was love and mutual respect between the two. Lily is the example of feminism in its best ... she pulled no punches into doing anything. She didn't shy away from speaking her mind even though it did cost her job twice.

Walls has a talent where people and their distant stories just come to life. For awhile there, I was so interested in this novel that I kept forgetting that parts of it is made up since Walls admitted that she never talked with her grandmother so she was filling in the blanks. Lily Casey Smith comes alive in this book and what a wonderful tribute to a woman who is part of Jeannette Walls' heritage. What a rich heritage that is too.

7/25/09
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 21, 2011 4:30:15 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 21, 2011 4:31:11 AM PST
V. Cole says:
I read The Glass Castle I don't know how long ago and remember liking it. I'll probably reread it now. But, this book captured my attention from the get go! It is such an interesting read. So, I do not agree with you that it is not as good as The Glass Castle. :)

Posted on Apr 5, 2011 6:34:10 PM PDT
Emi B says:
I agree with your review 100%. "The Glass Castle" was a page-turner for me. This was a very good book, but not of the same caliber.
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Location: Ohio

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