Recent read #26: Half Broke Horses

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I read Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Wells quickly and quietly over the weekend (how often can you say that about a novel).  Part of the reason for why I read this book was to break up the Game of Throne series, as it was getting to be too intense with a little too much swordplay and warring for much too long.  HBH had been on my Amazon wish list for quite awhile and I haven't read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells, so I wasn't as familiar with the author.  The novel is about Wells' grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, who grew up wrangling horses on the plains of west Texas and makes her own way to Arizona to teach in a one-room school.  She is raised by a semi-handicapped father with harebrained money-making schemes and a soft mother who is trying to raise her daughters as ladies out on the prairie.  Lily sets out on her own as a teenager, rides her horse for two weeks to get to Arizona, sleeps on the schoolhouse floor, defends herself with a gun and eventually learns how to drive a car and fly a plane.  The book is written in the first person and Wells is able to skillfully capture her grandmother's voice and the matter-of-fact lessons that she learns in the Wild West.  Each chapter is a page or two so the book is easily digestible over longer periods of time.  Although the end of her grandmother's life is not discussed in as much detail as I would have liked, my interest in Wells as an author has been piqued and I may pick up her memoir and hope that it provides as honest a story as this one did.

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