Thursday, September 21, 2017

Half Broke Horses - #BookBeginnings on Friday and The #Friday56

I've been reading as much as ever lately but haven't been participating in The Friday 56 or Book Beginnnings on Friday in a long time. However, I enjoyed Half Broke Horses so much that I decided to jump back in. This is a novel based on memories from Jeannette Walls's mother, relating to the author's grandmother -- Lily Casey Smith. In the "Author's Note" section, Walls writes: "... since I have also drawn on my imagination to fill in details that are hazy or missing... the only honest thing to do is call the book a novel."

Book Beginnings on Friday:

     Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did.
     It was late on an August afternoon, the air hot and heavy like it usually was in the rainy season. Earlier we'd seen some thunderheads near the Burnt Spring Hills, but they'd passed way up to the north. I'd mostly finished my chores for the day and was heading down to the pasture with my brother, Buster, and my sister, Helen, to bring the cows in for their milking. But when we got there, those girls were acting all bothered. Instead of milling around at the gate, like they usually did at milking time, they were standing stiff-legged and straight-tailed, twitching their heads around, listening.
     Buster and Helen looked up at me, and without a word, I knelt down and pressed my ear to the hard-packed dirt. There was a rumbling, so faint and low that you felt it more than you heard it. Then I knew what the cows knew -- a flash flood was coming.
The Friday 56 (Pages 56 and 156 were both blank, so I chose an excerpt from page 157):

     That well water tasted sweeter than the finest French liqueur. Some folks, when they struck it rich, liked to say that they were in the money, and that was how I felt - rich - only we were in the water.

Genre: Faction (fiction based on fact)
Book Length: 265 Pages (hardback)
Amazon Link: Half Broke Horses

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
"Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did." So begins the story of Lily Casey Smith, Jeannette Walls's no nonsense, resourceful, and spectacularly compelling grandmother. By age six, Lily was helping her father break horses. At fifteen, she left home to teach in a frontier town -- riding five hundred miles on her pony, alone, to get to her job. She learned to drive a car ("I loved cars even more than I loved horses. They didn't need to be fed if they weren't working, and they didn't leave big piles of manure all over the place") and fly a plane. And, with her husband Jim, she ran a vast ranch in Arizona. She raised two children, one of whom is Jeannette's memorable mother, Rosemary Smith Walls, unforgettably portrayed in The Glass Castle.

Lily survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and the most heartbreaking personal tragedy. She bristled at prejudice of all kinds -- against women, Native Americans, and anyone else who didn't fit the mold. Rosemary Smith Walls always told Jeannette that she was like her grandmother, and in this true-life novel, Jeannette Walls channels that kindred spirit. Half Broke Horses is Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults, as riveting and dramatic as Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa or Beryl Markham's West with the Night. Destined to become a classic, it will transfix audiences everywhere.


Anyone can participate in Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56.
Click HERE to connect to other Book Beginnings posts (sponsored by Rose City Reads) 
Click HERE to join other Friday 56 bloggers (sponsored by Freda's Voice)

Twitter: @SandyNachlinger
Facebook: sandy.nachlinger


Anne Bennett said...

We discussed this book in book club and everyone had lots of fun with it. What a character! Can you imagine having to wear your clothes inside out because they were so dirty?

Sassy Brit said...

Hi Sandy!

At first I thought, not my kind of book, but as I read I found myself wanting more! Thank you! I am really intrigued. Happily so!

Here is mine:

The Taste of Blue Light - it's a like a young adult's version of The Bell Jar!

Luv Sass

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian said...

I'm curious about this one, as I liked The Glass Castle.

Stormi Johnson said...

I thought I hadn't seen your blog on the meme for awhile, glad you came back. Not heard of your read but I am glad it was good enough to bring you back. :)

Week in Review

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Thanks for sharing! I loved this book, and also The Glass Castle. The author does an excellent job of bringing the characters to life. Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

Kathy Martin said...

Sounds good. I like the idea of Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults. I am featuring The Hunt by Chloe Neill this week. Happy reading!

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I enjoy reading about how people lived in the past. Little details (like inside-out clothes) make a story come to life.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I'll look for The Taste of Blue Light. Thanks for the recommendation.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I haven't read The Glass Castle, but after reading Half Broke Horses, I'm sure I'd enjoy it.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I've been going on hikes almost every Friday so that takes away my time to participate in these memes. It's fun to be back.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

Thanks for leaving a comment. I definitely need to read The Glass Castle.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

The author tells a great story. I'll read more of her books.

Yvonne said...

Glad to see you back! This sounds like a really good book. Have a great weekend!

Lynne Spreen said...

Hi Sandy, glad to see your post on this fine book. I love Goodreads because it helps me keep track of all the books I have read. Sometimes--often--I forget if I read them or what they were about. So I went to GR and found my review of this book from five years ago! Here it is in case anybody is interested:

Elizabeth said...

I still haven't read this book yet, but I loved THE GLASS CASTLE.

Thanks for sharing and for stopping by my blog earlier, Sandra.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

Thanks for posting the link to your review, Lynne. I came across this book at the library and thoroughly enjoyed it. A good story and good writing. (By the way, I can't remember all the books I've read either.)

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Sandra,

Whilst this probably isn't a book for my own TBR pile, I like the description in the 'Author's Notes', where Walls is honestly admitting that this book is probably a strange mix if fact and fiction, which does make it oddly compelling!

Thanks for sharing and please stop by the Friday memes more often :)


fredamans said...

It sounds like such a good read! Happy weekend!

Ashley Sapp said...

This sound really great! The Beginning really transported me right into the story. Thanks for sharing! :)

Sandra Nachlinger said...

One of my friend on Facebook said her family lived near the author's family and the book accurately depicts their life. Amazing!

Alicia AKernelofNonsense said...

This reminds me of my dad. He grew up in Colorado and says the well water was almost sweet. Happy weekend!

The Candid Cover: YA Book Blogger said...

This sounds like an amazing book! I hope that you enjoy it. Thanks so much for sharing it! :)

Literary Feline said...

I have heard great things about this book, but haven't yet read it. I am glad you enjoyed it. The opening really drew me in and it was hard to stop reading. I wanted to go out and buy the book so I could continue. :-) Thanks for sharing, Sandra! I hope you enjoy your weekend.