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. Rosemary Smith Walls always told Jeannette that she was like her grandmother, and in this true-life novel, Jeannette Walls channels that kindred spirit. Half Broke Horses is Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults, as riveting and dramatic as Isak Dinesen’sOut of Africa or Beryl Markham’s West with the Night. Destined to become a classic, it will transfix readers everywhere.
Having read and enjoyed The Glass Castle so much in the past, when I saw this book, Half Broke Horses, another true story by Jeannette Wells, I knew that I must read it. This book had a very different style than The Glass Castle and didn't enjoy it quite as much.
Lily, Jeannette's grandmother was a truly remarkable lady. So gutsy and determined even while living through the Great Depression. Lily was born in a mud hut on the banks of a river, she worked as a teacher during a shortage, learns how to fly, she was an extremely competent horsewoman, she also learns how to drive. In one town, she was the one-woman teacher wherein she taught, was the janitor, bus driver and disciplinarian. Lily's a very strong woman, and I found myself enthralled with her story. She had many struggles and set backs along the way and moved around quite a bit as she didn't have the proper teaching credentials so kept getting replaced when a licensed teacher would come back. The book flows well, short sections reading like stories told one by one over time, but forming a cohesive whole.
I'd recommend the book if you like memoirs, and stories about living in the southwest of America during the early to mid 1900's.
It was a quick read but one that I would not bother to read again unlike The Glass Castle which I thoroughly enjoyed and have read a few times.
Rating 3 out of 5.