This is one of those books where I wasn’t quite sure where to categorize it…or find it in the library. I was told it was about the grandmother of Jeanette Walls who we read about in the Glass Castle. The Glass Castle was a non-fiction memoir…so I was confused to learn that Half Broke Horses was in the fiction section. The cover calls it a “True-Life Novel.” True life novel…hmm…well, fortunately she explains all of this in her epilogue (finally a useful epilogue). All the stories came
If you enjoyed The Glass Castle, you'll really enjoy this one.
from oral retellings from people that knew her grandmother, therefore she can’t attest to their truthfulness…also a lot of holes were gaping open that she filled with her own imagination, therefore she felt she couldn’t honestly call it non-fiction. In a day and age where authors like James Frey abound, it’s nice to find an author with some integrity. Bravo Mrs. Walls!
I really enjoyed this book. She actually uses the voice of her grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, to tell the story. I really felt I got to know exactly who she was, and also learned a lot about Jeanette’s mother, Rose Mary who we met in the Glass Castle. Some of those characteristics that we love in Smith come back to haunt us in Rose Mary. Just goes to show there is too much of a good thing.
I loved Smith’s sense of adventure, although there are times I wonder if she’s really thinking through her actions…more than a couple of times she gets fired from teaching for her actions or words…yes, she made an impression on her students, but wouldn’t it have been better to tone it down just a little to actually be able to stick around and make a longer lasting impression on students? Overall, a fantastic book…not a lot to say about it, it was just a simple piece of work telling a ladies life. A good fun, adventurous life and the writing shows us all that.
Some of my favorite book quotes though, have come from it, and for your viewing purposes I’ll post those here for you…
“Only difference between a traitor and a patriot is your perspective.”
“It’s not enough to have a fine education. You need a piece of paper to prove you got it.” Right now I’m in the middle of job searching…and there are many jobs out there for that I 100% could do with flying colors, but sadly you have to have a bachelor’s degree to be eligible. That’s been part of my push to go back to school this fall and finish my degree…but I could totally appreciate her sentiment in this quote. I know a lot of really smart people who don’t have a college degree…and I know quite a few dumb ones who have them.
“Anyone who thinks he’s too small to make a difference has never been bit by a mosquito.” Very funny, but…considering I’m covered in mosquito bites from this weekend’s hike…even funnier.
“When people kill themselves, they think they’re ending the pain, but all they’re doing is passing it on to those they leave behind.”
“I hadn’t been paying much attention to things like the sunrise, but that old sun had been coming up anyway. It didn’t really care how I felt, it was going to rise and set regardless of whether I noticed it, and if I was going to enjoy it, that was up to me.” A simple reminder that no matter what happens, life and the world goes on and it’s up to us to find and enjoy the good things.