Skip to main content

Book Review: Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

Lily Casey Smith grew up on a homestead in Texas, learning to break horses at a young age. From childhood, she was a survivor, showing strength in the face of many challenges. She was the responsible one in her family, making up for her father who was a dreamer and her mother who was better suited to a plantation house than shack in the country. Most important to many readers, Lily became the mother of Rosemary Smith Walls, author Jeannette Walls' mother who is depicted in her memoir The Glass Castle.

Having read The Glass Castle a few years ago, I was thrilled when my book club chose to read Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls. This is not another memoir, or even a biography of the author's grandmother. Instead, it is a "true-life novel" based on Lily's life with some embellishments along the way. Written in Lily's voice, it's an engaging read, much like the author's memoir. Her life is fascinating, from growing up on the homestead, to her marriages and child-rearing, to learning to play poker and fly a plane. Lily had plenty of adventures in her life and it's clear that her granddaughter enjoys retelling these stories.

Those who have read The Glass Castle already will enjoy hearing about Rosemary's childhood and the beginning of her relationship with Rex. And those who have not read the memoir yet will be compelled to read it upon finishing Half Broke Horses. They really do fit very well together.

My Rating: 4/5

Read my review of The Glass Castle
Discussion questions for Half Broke Horses

This review was written based on a copy of Half Broke Horses that I obtained through Paperback Swap.


  1. It is great to hear they fit well together, I will have to read it, I have it. Glass Castle was my first memoir and I enjoy the genre now.

    1. I think you'd like it. It's not a memoir but it reads like one.

  2. While I don't think this is a book I'll enjoy, I do love to read human interest stories once in a while. Getting a different perspective in life is fascinating and uplifting.


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Getting back to blogging

It seems that blogging has dropped to the bottom of my list for the past year, and was pretty low for the year or two prior to that. I love to read, and am continuing to do so, but as my regular readers know I haven't been around much. My last blog post was almost a year ago!!

There are many things that have taken me away from blogging. Work has been much more challenging and interesting these past few years, but that means I really don't want to get back on the computer when I get home at night - or on the weekends.

Family life has been more busy with kids having multiple activities in the evenings, leaving little time to just hang out and write about the books that I read.

I will admit to a bit of a Facebook addiction, which means way too much time spent scrolling through my newsfeed instead of doing something more productive. This is one of the things I'm working on and hoping that this will free up some time for getting back to the blog.

Overall, life is good. Work is …

Banned Books Week: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park

This is the end of Banned Books Week and unfortunately, I haven't had a lot of time to write about banned books this year. But I did want to include at least one post about it, so today I wanted to share one of the book series that it seems most people are surprised to find on the list: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park.

According to Wikipedia:
The Junie B. Jones series came in at #71 on the American Library Association's list of the Top 100 Banned or Challenged Books from 2000-2009. Reasons cited are poor social values taught by the books and Junie B. Jones not being considered a good role model due to her mouthiness and bad spelling/grammar. This is an interesting example of a banned book. Many times there are serious, controversial topics featured in books that are challenged. Things like homosexuality, drugs, vulgar language, etc. You can actually understand why people may not want their children to read those books, and why they may challenge their inclusion in school libra…

April Reading Review

Where exactly did April go? I swear it was just the middle of March and now it's May. Once again, I'm going to provide a quick review of each of the books I read last month. For the last two weeks of the month, I participated in the Spring Into Horror Readathon hosted by Michelle at Seasons of Reading. The only rule was that you had to read at least one book that was horror, thriller, etc. I read one book that qualified. With the exception of the first book in my list, the books I mention below were read during the readathon

My book club's May selection was Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. I had started reading this nonfiction book about the author's work representing men, women and children who were on death row in March but finished the book in April. This is an eye-opening story that everyone at my book club discussion agreed should be required reading for law schools and police officers and even legislators who are making the laws related to judgements. I learned to…