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Broken: A Love Story - Horses, Humans, and Redemption on the Wind River Indian Reservation Hardcover – May 12, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Freelance journalist Jones tells the story of Arapaho medicine man Stanford Addison, a quadriplegic and gifted horse trainer and his effect on animals: The horses would gather around, their liquid brown eyes fixed on him. He'd roll away across the dirt. They'd put their noses down and follow him until he stopped rolling. Jones chronicles the Addison family's triumphs and losses on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, a place plagued by poverty and defined by struggle. Along the way, Jones takes in lost souls, like the half-melted cowboy Moses. At a crossroads in her life, Jones—much like those she cares for—is spiritually lost, but while in Wyoming, she stumbles upon her own journey of self-discovery. With an eye for detail, Jones brings each character to life; she describes Addison as [t]his paralyzed, six-toothed, one-lunged Plains Indian [who] would take a drag of his KOOL Filter King, sigh, and say something like 'I guess the thing I miss most since the accident is ski jumping.'  At the book's core are the themes of healing, redefining family and home, and finding your center. In the end, Jones reveals the beauty, ruin—and spirituality—of life on the rez. (May 12)
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From Library Journal

A starred review! As the subtitle suggests, this is indeed a love story, but not in the typical romantic sense. It is a chronicle of the author's spiritual journey and growth and a peek at the realities of life on an Indian reservation. Jones has worked as a journalist for over 20 years in the rural West. On assignment for Smithsonian magazine, she travels to the Northern Arapaho community at Wind River Indian Reservation to write an article about a quadriplegic Native American reputed to be an expert horse trainer and medicine man. Jones finds herself immersed in an unfamiliar culture that initially makes her very uncomfortable. The routine journalistic assignment grows in depth and breadth, as Jones introduces the reader to Stanford Addison and his extended family, their horses, and their acceptance of a life that is challenging yet somehow appropriate. The author has a knack for describing events, people, and scenery so well that the reader can almost taste the weak, sugary coffee and feel the oppressive heat of the ceremonial sweat lodge. Compelling reading for those interested in Native American culture and personal journeys of self-discovery. —Debby Emerson, Rochester Regional Lib. Council, Fairport, NY

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition, Second Printing edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416579060
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416579069
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lowell P. Beveridge on May 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
So this privileged, educated white journalist from Colorado goes to Wyoming on a four day assignment to do an article about this Native American shaman, a quadriplegic who has a reputation for taming horses and curing people. That assignment could have produced a great story, but an even better one is told in this book - how her relationship with Stanford Addison changed her life completely.
How could an experienced professional journalist commit such a breach of professional objectivity and allow herself to become the center of the story? In partial answer, readers will learn about Stan's easy familiarity with the world of spirits - both good and malevolent. If you don't become a believer, you will at least find it easy to suspend disbelief. If you are familiar with twelve step programs you will recognize the author's qualities of honesty, openness, and willingness along with a healthy dose of humility.
In the closing chapter I found this quote which resonated with me: "One of the best things I'd developed around Stan was a place in my mind where things were neither confirmed nor denied but remained mysterious. I mean, really, so we really think we've got it all figured out? And what kind of eyes did I want to cast on the world? The eyes of someone who is okay with not knowing everything, or the eyes of a litigator, demanding a complete set of data every time the road changed directions?"
Those seeking spiritual relief from the pursuit of power and things will gain incite and inspiration from Lisa Jones' account of love and healing in a setting of political powerlessness and economic poverty.
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Format: Hardcover
With wit and charm, Lisa Jones takes us along on her spiritual journey, complete with a quadriplegic Native American shamen and a courtship romance. It's very easy to identify with this savvy but vulnerable author, and the reader never feels manipulated.

As Stan, the shamen, teaches Jones to meet each day with humility, surrender, and heart, Jones gradually sheds her "big" personality, and lets her heart shine through.

The emphasis is less on exotic metaphysical experiences and more on subtle inner transformation, and Jones pulls it off because she is a sincere, talented writer, committed to telling Stan's story and her own.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
...but much more about the 'healee'. And once I got over the promise of the preface wherein Ms. Jones dangles a remarkable scenario between a quadriplegic Indian healer and a wild horse to draw us into this story, I settled into the more or less interesting journey of a self-absorbed, modern woman soothing her inner child on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.

While tedious and difficult at times, mirroring perhaps daily life on society's edge, this was, overall, an engaging read, particularly the last third of the book. Despite Ms. Jones's penchant for random, pointless anecdotes from her days spent in the Addison household, she ultimately paints a vivid picture of life, love, and loss among the Arapahoe Indians.

She does not, however, capture more than the most superficial pass at the complexity of Stanford Addison, the crippled healer of broken spirits, both animal and human. I was disappointed by the omission, and left wishing for the untold other half of this story.
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Format: Hardcover
While I have purchased dozens, maybe hundreds, of books from Amazon, this is the first book I felt truly compelled to write a review for. Broken is the kind of book you want to tell everyone you think might be interested in (about 90% of the people I know come to mind) to run out and buy it and read it. And then to share with you what they thought...which parts moved them, which (real life) character did they love, which ones did they relate to, which ones did they wish they could meet.

Broken made me feel as though I was on this life journey with Lisa. That her experiences and heartbreaks and realizations were somehow my own. To be able to be drawn into a story in this way is rare.

At the center of this story is Stanford Addison, a quadriplegia horse gentler, and was the alchemy that made this book magic. A man broken by life, yet held up by Spirit. You get the sense that just his presence is somehow gentling to those around him, even though his surroundings and life are challenging to say the least. The story is set against the backdrop of the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, which seems to be a place suspended in time, yet very much alive and vital and also severe and uncompromising.

I should mention that while the events are sometimes brutally "real-life", there is also plenty of levity (there were many parts I found myself laughing out loud) and just good story telling. This, Lisa Jones, is a master at.

Bottom line? It is an inspiring, eye-opening, and often delightful read. One that will both entertain and enlighten you. I couldn't put it down. Always the sign of not only a good book, but a great book.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Nice cover--but please don't buy this book if you're a horse lover. It's not about the Native American healer, and he's definitely not a 'horse whisperer.' In fact, I found it difficult to keep reading (but did so only for the purposes of this review) after the description of how Stanford Addison and his 'helpers' brutally and violently geld a wild stallion--killing it in the process. Jones describes Addison in the beginning of the memoir as a gentle, understanding man, transformed after becoming a quadriplegic. One expects to see miracles wrought with horses--and maybe, at times, people. One finds a somewhat disorganized narrative about the author which eventually leads us to her happiness. Hey! What the heck happened to Addison??

In fairness to Jones, I believe her writing ability is first rate (as a journalist, not a literary writer), but in this case she does, in fact, leave behind her objectivity and jump wholly into a self-absorbed memoir. If you want to read about her trials & tribulations in finding true love, get the book. Otherwise....
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