Saturday, September 10, 2011

Half Broke Horses

Half Broke Horses, by Jeannette Walls, (c)2009, SimonandSchuster

This was a book club read, primarily because much of it takes place in our own area of Ash Fork, Seligman and Red Lake, AZ.  We also found out that the husband of one of our members grew up with the author's grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, who is the subject of the book - boy, that was an interesting discussion!  After reading Shy Boy, the descriptions of breaking the ranch horses was rather disturbing.  But there is one section where the truck Lily and her daughter are driving breaks down in the middle of the range and the best option is to coax a wild horse into helping them.,  It was nearly Shy Boy all over again.  But only for that brief moment.  The most interesting part of this book was the description of daily ranch life and travel during the Great Depression and the Great War (WWII).

To read about how children were reaised and treated at that time made me glad for improvements in attitudes toward childrearing.  At 15 years of age, after spending 10 years working her father's ranch and breaking horses, Lily Casey Smith rode solo, on horseback, from New Mexico to Northern Arizona to work as a teacher in the district of Red Lake.  Her courage and resolve were inspiring.  There are also stories of Lily and her siblings narrowly surviving flash floods, tornadoes, and living in a sod house. 

I could relate to her feelings about the big cities of Chicago and Phoenix.  Culture and modern comforts are nice, but too many people.  My favorite lines are when Lily tells her husband "In the city people worry about themselves.  In the country we worry about the weather and the livestock." 

No compensation was received for this review.  I checked this book out from my local library;)

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