Half Broke Horses, written by Jeannette Walls, is told from the view point of her grandmother Lily Casey Smith who was, as Jeannette recalls, “one tough old broad.”

Lily was born in a dugout in 1901 and was raised on horse ranch .  She learns to break horses at an early age by her father who trains horses for carriages.  At  the age of 15 she rides by horseback across the country for 500 hundred miles to be a school teacher. The stories told about her adventures are humorous and well written.

Later in life with her second husband and two children  she runs a huge cattle ranch and when things get tough she makes extra money by playing poker, riding in horse races and  bootlegging.  She also learns to fly a plane. The hardships and struggles that she endures are told with delightfulness and humor.

Her no-nonsense attitude helps her deal with tornadoes , floods, droughts and personal tragedy.  She hates prejudice of any kind and her views often get her into trouble.

Rosemary Smith Walls  often tells her daughter Jeannette that she is like her grandmother Lily.

In this true life novel, Jeannette Walls feels a “kindred spirit ” with her grandmother and compares the novel as a “Laura Ingall’s” story for adults.

Lily’s life story can maybe help you understand the memorable RoseMary Smith Walls, the unfit mother of author Jeannette Walls.

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