Half Broke Horses

By Jeannette Walls

Half Broke Horses

 4.1 

Half Broke Horses

57 Quotes    4.1 

Memoir The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls was "nothing short of spectacular" (Entertainment Weekly). Now she's bringing us the story of her grandmother in Half Broke Horses, told in an authentic, irresistible, and triumphant first-person voice. "Those old cows knew that trouble was coming befor... e we did." So begins the story of Lily Casey Smith, the grandmother of Jeannette Walls who is no nonsense, resourceful and spectacularly compelling. Lily helped her father break horses by age six. She left home at fifteen to teach in a frontier town -- riding on her pony for five hundred miles, alone, to get to her job. She learnt to drive a car ("I loved cars even more than horses I loved. If they weren't working they didn't need to be fed, and they didn't leave large piles of manure all over the place") and fly a plane. And she ran a vast ranch in Arizona, with her husband Jim. She raised two children, one of whom is Rosemary Smith Walls, Jeannette's memorable mother, unforgettably portrayed in The Glass Castle. Lily survived the most heartbreaking personal tragedy, tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression. She was bristling with all sorts of prejudice -- against women, Native Americans, and anyone else who didn't fit the mold. Rosemary Smith Walls always told Jeannette she was like her grandmother, and Jeannette Walls channels that kindred spirit in this true-life novel. Half Broke Horses, as riveting and dramatic as Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa or Beryl Markham's West with the Night, is Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults. It'll transfix audiences everywhere, destined to become a classic.

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  • PUBLISHED BY

    Scribner

  • PUBLISHED ON

    Oct 6, 2009

  • ISBN

    1416586288 , 9781416586289

  • FORMAT

    Hardcover

  • LANGUAGE

    English

  • NO. OF PAGES

    272

Quotes from Half Broke Horses

I became known as Lily Casey, the mustang-breaking, poker-playing, horse-race-winning schoolmarm of Coconino County, and it wasn't half bad to be in place where no one had a problem with a woman having a moniker like that.

The water you kids were playing in, he said, had probably been to Africa and the North Pole. Genghis Khan or Saint Peter or even Jesus may have drunk it. Cleopatra might have bathed in it. Crazy Horse might have watered his pony with it. Sometimes water was liquid. Sometimes it was rock hard- ice. Sometimes it was soft- snow. Sometimes it was visible but weightless- clouds. And sometimes it was completely invisible- vapor- floating up into the the sky like the soals of dead people. There was nothing like water in the world, Jim said. It made the desert bloom but also turned rich bottomland into swamp. Without it we'd die, but it could also kill us, and that was why we loved it, even craved it, but also feared it. Never take water forgranted, Jim said. Always cherish it. Always beware of it.

Sometimes something catastrophic can occur in a split second that changes a person's life forever; other times one minor incident can lead to another and then another and another, eventually setting off just as big a change in a body's life.

But no matter how much planning you do, one tiny miscalculation, one moment of distraction, can end it all in an instant.

The women I know with strong personalities, the ones who might have become generals or the heads of companies if they were men, become teachers. Teaching is a calling, too. And I've always thought that teachers in their way are holy--angles leading their flocks out of the darkness.

I could see why Archimedes got all excited. There was nothing finer than the feeling that came rushing through you when it clicked and you suddenly understood something that had puzzled you. It made you think it just might be possible to get a handle on this old world after all.

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