Thursday, June 3, 2010

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

I loved this book, plain and simple.

Once again great writing. Half Broke Horses reads in short vignette-like chapters 'spoken' from grandmother Lily to granddaughter Jeannette. The love and respect Jeannette has for her grandmother and relatives is palpable as she records the details of their feisty, sassy, hardscrabble lives during the first half of the 20th Century. The only thing that had me cringing at the end (Half Broke Horses being the prequel) was the lead up to where Jeannette's personal memoir The Glass Castle begins. Anyone who's read that knows what's a comin'. Jeannette's childhood in turn was disastrous which begs the question, What went wrong? Where and with whom? Of course her father Rex played a large part in that misery, so perhaps we need to know more about his side of the family too.

Both books, though, are fabulously written and read perfectly well on their own. But Half Broke Horses is maybe a little more . . . fun.

"One Saturday morning that fall, when I went out into the yard, I looked over at the hearse parked next to the barn. It was just sitting there, and that struck me as a real waste. Unlike a horse, a car didn't need a day off every now and then. If I could put the hearse to work for me on the weekends, it would -after gas- be pure profit. I decided to start up a taxi service.
On the side of the hearse, under SCHOOL BUS, I used the same silver paint to add AND TAXI. Jim came up with the idea of strapping some old buggy seats in the back when we had paying passengers." pg 173


Beth said...

I loved this book, too.
My goodness, we certainly do share a similar taste in books!

Susan Abramson said...

I am so happy to hear you liked this book. I absolutely loved The Glass Castle and it still sits with me, now years later. I will definitely get around to reading this one now.

Just about to finish The Poisonwood Bible tonight - it's powerful! Can't wait to finish.

trish said...

I almost didn't read this because I was afraid that it would be as emotionally wrenching as Glass Castle. But then I caved and was pleasantly surprised and reminded again of what a good writer she is. I'm actually tempted to give Glass Castle a re-read now.

Poisonwood Bible is another one of my favorites!