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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.

Book Reviews

Half Broke Horses
Average rating
4.2 / 5
Half Brike Horses
March 13th, 2015
I couldn't put this book down! The trials and tribulations of her life and her reaction to them touched my heart. Lilly is a strong and sensible woman and says it like it is, sometimes knocking the lace off your panties!
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1 review
A great prequel to The Glass Castle
January 9th, 2015
I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting and well laid out. I highly recommend reading this and the Glass Castle.
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1 review
A for-sure
November 1st, 2014
Having read The Glass Castle, I had faith this would be a good, entertaining read. It was. Half Broke Horses tells the story of Jeanette Walls’ grandma, Lily. She was a teacher, rancher, pilot and many other things, and correspondingly she was full of determination and sass. Her life story told by Jeanette makes for very good reading.
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1 review
Half Broke Horses
June 30th, 2014
Wonderful book. Great storytelling.
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1 review
October 14th, 2013
I enjoyed this story which takes place in the early to mid twentieth century but the messages are relevant even today. I loved with the main character Lily Casey Smith and her story of one woman's resilience and how she was instrumental in helping her family pull through personal tragedies and life altering events....
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1 review

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