Monday, August 9, 2010

A Worker Bee's Book Review

Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel

Jeannette Walls' latest novel chronicles the life of her grandmother, Lily Casey Smith: mother, horsewoman, pilot, schoolteacher, and southwest rancher. Told in first person, the narrative fuses anecdotes Walls heard as a child, spun together in the no-nonsense, fiercely determined--and ever captivating--voice of Lily, whose adventures span through a Texas dugout home, Chicago, and finally to the Arizona desert. If the novel's metaphor of the 'half broke horse' becomes slightly repetitive, it more than compensates for this in its stunning, intricate character portrait of Lily. While Lily has the pluck to leave home at age fifteen to become a teacher (embarking on a four-week journey), she grieves deeply over the loss of a family member; while her traditional plans for her daughter strain their relationship, she thoroughly embraces the advent of modern technology. A must read to encounter this unforgettable heroine, whose story is told in an impeccable voice.


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