Half Broke Horses
This real-life novel of Lily Casey Smith, the grandmother of the author, recounts her adventure-filled life growing up on a horse ranch, teaching in one-room schoolhouses, going for her high school diploma in big-city Chicago, and eventually becoming the wife of a rancher and raising her two children during the first part of the 20th century. She obviously led a very interesting life, and I enjoyed reading about life in the West during that time period, but didn’t feel it was as strong as her first real-life novel, The Glass Castle, so I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed.
Lily Casey Smith is portrayed as a strong, spunky, independent woman who does what it takes to meet her dreams — her dream of becoming a teacher, getting a college education, learning to drive a car and fly a plane, to name a few. I appreciated her determination and the storytelling format made it seem as if I were sitting down to chat with her in her old age — which I’m sure is how the author remembers her beloved grandmother. I would not, however, consider it a page-turner; there were many parts that were basically just explaining how they did things — kind of like Little House on the Prairie, only in the desert.
Overall, I didn’t really have a strong feeling about this book one way or another. It was kind of interesting, but I wouldn’t read it again, and probably wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it unless someone had read The Glass Castle and was really interested in more backstory of that particular book.