[Download] Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel By Jeannette Walls

Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel

By: Jeannette Walls
Narrated by: Jeannette Walls
Length: 7 hours
Release date: Oct 6, 2009
Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1,244 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)

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Jeannette Walls's memoir The Glass Castle was "nothing short of spectacular" (Entertainment Weekly). Now, in Half Broke Horses, she brings us the story of her grandmother, told in a first-person voice that is authentic, irresistible, and triumphant.

"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.
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70 Responses to “[Download] Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel By Jeannette Walls”

  1. Judy Scott

    I enjoyed this book most of the time
    Would you listen to Half Broke Horses again? Why?

  2. Joel Bleimehl

    Jeannette Walls is a wonderful storyteller
    I really enjoyed this book. Ms. Walls does a wonderful job of painting a picture story! As a “prequel” to The Glass Castle, you really get a feel for Rosemary’s beginnings and maybe understand more of who she is and why, through her mother’s eyes. I’d say Jeannette has more than a little bit of her grandmothers moxie! I recommend this book!

  3. Alexa H.

    There’s not much new but exciting.
    A story of times we know little about but people who resemble people today. Very interesting.

  4. Elizabet L.

    Very Engaging
    This is very much worth a listen. I recently finished “Glass Castle” and wanted more. Although not an immediate tie in with GC, this story seems to easily relate to GC since you know you are finding out about Wall’s grandmother – and the prime influence on her mother. Helps to make sense out of GC if that is of interest to you. If not, it is still an interesting story of a tough and self-reliant woman making a go of it in the early 1900’s in Arizona and New Mexico.

  5. Brent Fernandz

    A bit disapointed
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

  6. Carter Clogston

    Loved it!Wanted to listen to it in one sitting.
    The narration was fantastic and I loved the story. The characters almost haunted me. I couldn’t wait to hear what happened next.

  7. Cheri

    Nice background for the Glass Castle
    I thought this was a neat story to give a background to the Glass Castle. I liked The Glass Castle a lot better but I still loved learning about this period in history and the wild life of the author’s grandmother.

  8. Sherly Veigel

    Half broke horses review
    I enjoyed this book and getting s small glimpse into the life of a different era and lifestyle. Jeannette wrote and read with expression and vitality that made the characters come to life. I would highly recommend this book and her previous book The Glass House.

  9. Clint Lifton

    I love family stories
    I loved listening to this inspiring and interesting book. Lily is a great example of a strong authentic woman.

  10. Refugia Angiolillo

    I couldn’t stop listening. Loved the story over a woman’s whole interesting life. Also like that it was the mother of the crazy mom in Glass Castles. Liked hearing some of her childhood also.

  11. Clement Schlaack

    Excellent! well worth it.
    I had the audio version read by the author. well worth it. The way the author brings out the character keeps you listening for more.

  12. Scotty Habrock

    Very entertaining
    It was interesting to learn the way the family survived and never gave up!!Thank you!!

  13. Margo M.

    This book gave some background that was very helpful in understanding Ms. Walls unconventional upbringing. (The Glass Castle) Ms. Walls mother had been very influenced by the hard scrabble life of the American west and her family’s need to survive. It was not comfortable nor safe. In giving us the story of her grandparents, her own mother’s life and choices became more understandable. Jeanette Walls certainly channeled her grandmother’s grit to become a respected author. Good for her.

  14. Kendall Fedewa

    Loved it loved it loved it.
    Jeannette Walls did an incredible job preserving not only her grandmother’s memory, but making the times and places in which Lilly lived as fascinating as Lilly was. (Walls is an excellent narrator, too.)

    I couldn’t stop listening — this was a very enjoyable book, reminding me of Ralph Moody’s stories about growing up in the west.

  15. Mack Helstad

    Absolutely Loved It!!!
    I thoroughly enjoyed this story! It is very engaging and entertaining.

    The main character, Lily, is QUITE a character.

    I have read The Glass Castle and this story really added to that! The background info about the author’s mother as a child was very interesting, especially since I already had insight into how her life played out as an adult.

    I highly recommend this book! Keep listening all the way to the end because the author speaks about her decision to write the book as well as the process of researching and writing this story.

  16. Wendy

    Poor Recording
    This might be a good story, but I was very distracted by the poor narration. The Narrator talks too fast, and sounds like she has marbles in her mouth. Very disappointing.

  17. Cornelius Ruggs

    Not worth the time!
    I was extremely disappointed in this book. I had read the Glass Castle and really enjoyed it so I was surprised that this one was so poorly written and narrated so badly. Boring!

  18. Barrett Manous

    You need to get Will Patton to narrate your books
    The story is great but the narration is awful. You need to get Will Patton to do your books!

  19. Mzmojorisin

    Great story!
    The Glass Castle is my very favorite book, and Half Broke Horses gives wonderful insight to the characters in The Glass Castle. Having spent 18 years living in AZ myself, and most of those years in the area that the characters in Half Broke Horses live in predominantly, I thought the descriptions and stories of surrounding terrain and characters were spot on! I loved the book, I’m going to be buying it as a gift for other loved ones who grew up in these parts of AZ as well:)

  20. Arlinda Mangon

    One of the best books I’ve ever read!
    This book, along with “The Glass Castle”, are my two top favorite books of all time. I do hope one day to meet Ms. Walls and have her personally signs my two books!

  21. Nevada

    2 words Awesome sauce
    Thought she was lying…..

    I read The Glass Castle – Exhilarating

    I was so fascinated with Rex Walls and what he would do next. He was truly a free spirit, rebel without a cause, but very intelligent. You might even say book sense without common sense. *Shrugs! So after reading the first book – I guess it’s the first (The Glass Castle ), I absolutely had to have more. So this one. As I began to read, I was like, this is a true story, right? Hmmm…. This is not matching up with the other. Everything is different. FRAUD (lol). As the story went on I noticed the story was about the grandmother and then merging into the mother – I was entranced and back on track.

    I love the stories, the imagery was so0 vivid. My favorite imagery was the hearse with school bus painted on the side and underneath, Taxi! Hilarious.

    Who gets fired all those times and doesn’t learn the lesson. Comical.

  22. wookie's mom

    My daughter suggested this book to me and she has excellent taste!! This story is amazing. I enjoyed it immensely! The things she does to survive is amazing. Lily tries her hand at everything and succeeds at most things. I was sad when she let go of one of her dreams. Give this book a try, I don’t think you will be disappointed!

  23. Whitney S.

    Not sure that I would like this, but it was great!
    What made the experience of listening to Half Broke Horses the most enjoyable?

  24. Ira Butay

    Fascinating story about an amazingly strong woman
    I read Jeannette Walls’ book “The Glass Castle”, and absolutely loved it. This book transports you to her grandmother’s pioneer upbringing in Texas and Arizona.

  25. Markita Ramirez

    Wonderful Story
    Fantastic! I had listened to the Glass Castle first and loved Half Broke Horses just as much! Jeanette Walls does a great job telling the story of a woman who had made her own way and formed a life in spite of the cards stacked against her. I love the connections that I felt between this book and The Glads Castle! Great book!

  26. Boysmom

    Interesting little tale
    What made the experience of listening to Half Broke Horses the most enjoyable?

  27. Shannon M.

    Gentle Portrait of Hard Life – Arizona 1900/50s
    The story is taken from the life of the author’s grandmother, great grandparents, and mother and is largely non-fiction, although called a real life novel by Ms. Walls. The telling of the story, which begins in the early 1900s in a dugout home in the bank of a draw in Western Texas, is gentle and loving. The grandmother become a teacher in one-room school houses in the most remote portions of Northern Arizona but she and her family are also farmers, ranchers, artists, policemen, and Army flyers. The grandmother’s strong character, her husband’s kinship with a well-known Mormon figure, and the slow sweep of history – through the 1st WW, the depresion, and the 2nd WW is very engaging. Ms. Walls is both the author and the narrator and has the advantage of knowing her grandmother’s speech patterns and character. A very enjoyable read.

  28. Josie

    Lessons of life
    Lessons of life in a simpler time through the eyes of a woman who didn’t make excuses and searched for a way to make it in life.
    She succeeded to her own delight. Left me wanting more.

  29. Yolonda S.

    Simply amazing
    Once again I am completely awestruck, thank you Jeannette Walls. Thank you for sharing your story and your grandmother’s story.

  30. KM

    Jeannette Walls is a fabulous story teller
    Though I liked The Glass Castle better, this was a great story. I know that some of the content was speculation which is why it is called a true-life novel, but be that as it may, a story about her ancestry and knowing all she does about her grandmother made me happy and sad at the same time. I wish now I had found out more about my grandmother’s story as she came here from another country at a very young age. That would have been a fascinating story I am sure.

  31. Salley Wilson

    Worth Every Minute
    Strong story, strong life, we need so many more women and men like Lilly and Jim

  32. Errol Knopf

    Read After Glass Castle. Wonderful
    Have you listened to any of Jeannette Walls’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

  33. Elmer Daleske

    Reminds me of my Grandmother, God Love Her!
    What a beautifully written story of the history of the emerging West. The struggles and joys of that time were truly a miracle in surviving Our Country’s evolving determination to push through obstacles.
    Good history lesson!??

  34. Ronnie Carballo

    I adore this author
    I am a psychologist and am so happy to hear the story of Jeannettes mom.

  35. Herta L.

    Fantastically Told Story!
    Loved It! The Author being the nararrator of her own story made it more personal. There were times I didn’t want to stop listening, when I had to. Great story!

  36. Nickolas Magley

    Family History at its finest
    Thoroughly enjoyed this novel because it is a life story told by a granddaughter and daughter with a loving but realistic perspective

  37. Katharyn Elsaesser

    Fantastic prequel to The Glass Castle
    Fantastic! Jeannette Walls is a true inspiration. I loved reading about her grandmothers life. It really filled in some gaps as I read the Glass Castle first. Thank you Jeannette for sharing your family’s stories.

  38. Janeth Lisenby

    Fantastic Background For Glass Castle
    I loved this history that informs The Glass Castle so brilliantly. Highly recommended to Jeannette Walls fans.

  39. Brad Hullihen

    Loved the story
    I’ve listened to all three of her books, this one by far was my favorite. I loved that it was written in first person it made for a heart warming and inspirational story. Very well written! Loved the story!

  40. Lonna Dingus

    Another win for Walls
    I was very fond of the The Glass Castle, so when I saw Jeannette Walls had written another book I snatched it up immediately! Half Broke Horses did not disappoint. I loved the author’s candor and the tone of the book kept me coming back for more day after day.

    This book is an absolute delight from beginning to end!

  41. Nancy W.

    Loved the story from beginning to end
    This happens before Jeanette’s other book the Glass Castle.
    I already read that book A few years ago but I’m now going to read it again, this time listening to it. Remarkable true stories with extreme personalities and no lack of drama.

  42. Heike Mcgilvery

    If you could sum up Half Broke Horses in three words, what would they be?

  43. Keneth Vixay

    Inspired Work of Art
    Jeannette Walls has captured the voice of her grandmother through this excellent novelization of her family history. An inspiring story for men and women alike. Less horrific than her first book (Glass Castle) but equally as engaging. In fact, if you have not read The Glass Castle– read this first.

  44. Tarsha Holbert

    I enjoyed this book more than Glass Castles
    I found this book easy to get through and enjoyable. I loved the actual author reading the book in the way she intended people to hear it. I enjoyed it more than glass castles, maybe it was the milder language or less depressing story. Not sure. But worth the listen.

  45. Byron Newgard

    Vividly authentic and fast paced!
    Listening to the granddaughter (and author) of the main character read this (historically based) novel lent an authenticity to the story that I did not anticipate. I could hear Lily speaking! Extraordinary life during a bygone era.

  46. Shannnon Brunner

    Half the book that the Glass Castle was!!!
    After listening to the Glass Castle and coming away from it having thoroughly enjoying the writing, story and especially the narration by author, Jeannette Walls. I couldn’t wait to start Half Broke Horses. Unfortunately the story just wasn’t as compelling as the Glass Castle and I came away from this book a little disappointed. Maybe it just because the Glass Castle was so good that too high of expectations. On another note the narration was great again..

  47. Danial Parziale

    What my life would have been 100 years ago
    I thoroughly enjoy all books based on real life stories — especially of the hardships of earlier America. I truly empathized with the main female character as I was a tomboy myself. The story draws you in and keeps you interested. True history is well entwined with a fascinating story. It was a nice different point of the view of the era than the usual non-fiction. The way a “cowboy” story should be.

  48. Darlene

    Fabulous book
    I enjoy’d this book almost as much as the glass castle. The narrator was also awesome

  49. Danna

    Should be a movie!
    I’ve read both The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horse and they are without a doubt my two favorite books ever. I loved connecting with rural life and learning from not just the characters but the time period. Lily’s strength of character is remarkable; how she rode so many miles to teach at a young age, how she tried to console and help her sister, and how she stood up to men in such a time period are just a few examples of her loyalty, determination, and fearlessness. I loved The Glass Castle the movie. I think this should be considered for a movie as well.

  50. Lawrence Tennille

    Just binge listened
    I chose this audiobook because I had enjoyed and been moved by The Glass Castle, and intrigued by Jeannette WalIs’s maternal grandmother But I was a little reluctant to complete my purchase when I discovered I had run out of credits for the year. Went ahead, and boy was it worth it. This was so good I couldn’t turn it off and spent an entire Sunday finding things I could do while listening. One of those books that makes you sad that it’s finished. Don’t miss the notes at the end by Ms. Walls, about how and why it came to be written.

  51. Ozella Hiller

    Would you consider the audio edition of Half Broke Horses to be better than the print version?

  52. Hosea Sandoz

    Love this book
    Entertaining and educational. A fabulous glimpse into our grandparents’ generation! Walls has a wonderful talent for conveying a story in a very enjoyable, believable way. What a treasure her books are for her family and the rest of us.

  53. Mitsue D.

    GrEAt BooK
    Loved this book I read the Glass Castle first and it was good then read Half Broke Horses. two excellent books ??

  54. Bonnie Cassidy

    Fascinating read
    I really enjoyed Lily’s story and listened to it in the car on a road trip. I will definitely listen to it again.

  55. Emilio Amyx

    I liked it, but doesn’t compare to Th Glass Castle
    I really enjoyed hearing about Rosemary’s upbringing on the ranch told by her mother Lily (it’s shocking that Rosemary grew up to be as “wacky” as she did because she had a lovely, adventurous childhood on the ranch). Enjoyed hearing how Rosemary and Rex met in more details and their early life together and as they began to have their kids. Enjoyed hearing about Lily’s life and trials as a woman rancher. A strong, amazing woman but this book doesn’t hold a candle to the amazing story that The Glass Castle is. I was hoping it would but it didn’t. If you loved The Glass Castle, I think you’d like hearing about Rosemary’s childhood told by her mother and how their life was back then. I’d recommend it, just go in knowing that you’ll like The Glass Castle more 😉

  56. Teresa

    Couldn’t stop listening
    Jeanette Walls is an amazing writer and narrator and this book doesn’t disappoint. I loved listening to the story of her grandmother and living in Arizona myself, I loved listening to the history of Arizona.

  57. Young G.

    Totally draws you in.
    The narrator does such a convincing job you feel like part of Lily’s family. I was sad when it ended.

  58. Petra Rivera

    Interesting, entertaining and enlightening is the best way to describe this book. I grew up on the east coast and have always been fascinated about how people before all the luxuries we are so privileged to have survived as they settled and planted roots out west. This book pretty much detailed a lot if the struggles Americans had in creating roots in the West and establishing life in a ranch during tough times.

  59. Cyndy Pagley

    Heartwarming and endearing
    I really appreciate the book being narrated by the author. I had read the glass castle and gave it my own voice in my head so hearing about Lily’s life in 19th century America directly from the author really fit well. I think the story is fun and heartwarming written in a clear and fluid manner and I would recommend it to any listener who is in historical fiction or interesting novels with strong female leads.

  60. Fidela Hintermeister

    Great Book
    I loved this book and have recommended it to everyone. It is a must read/listen. I am glad I picked this one first and now listening to “The Glass Castle”

  61. Gerry Asken

    Wonderful true life story
    Jeannette Walls is simply wonderful. Such an excellent story teller. An excellent story about an incredible woman in our history. Not a famous character a real woman who had amazing will and determination. I highly recommend.

  62. Rolland Depsky

    Great life lessons
    This book makes me want to write my grandmothers history – and someday my own. It took me a bit to get into it but then I found myself unable to stop. I listened to it and I love the authors performance of her grandmother’s voice.

  63. Jonathon Posten

    Woman of will
    What made the experience of listening to Half Broke Horses the most enjoyable?

  64. China R.

    A Good Story
    Just a good story.
    Nothing fancy.
    I liked the part about Big Jim.
    ok o.k.

  65. Tierra Ellerson

    After listening to her first book, I had really looked forward to getting this one. I was very disappointed. It is disjointed and the author should have let someone else narrate the book. Would not recommend.

  66. Vaughn Human

    Really tried to finish it but couldn’t take it.
    I’m not sure what a “true life novel” is but this was just bad. Is it a novel? Is it a biography? Regardless, the main character was so full of herself that I had to stop reading. I really tried. I wanted to like it. I almost made it to the end but just couldn’t do it. Somewhere in the middle I thought she might redeem herself but nope, still completely full of herself.

  67. Ophelia Savoy

    I wish I had the talent to pass on family history the way the author was able to.

  68. Nolan Marcheski

    Maybe because I loved The Glass Castle so much?
    Any additional comments?

  69. Manda H.

    Loved it!
    So authentic. Wonderful story about beautiful, resilient soul! Made me think about my grandmother who grew up being farmed out to other families in the Smokeys, and my other grandmother who broke draft horses. So real!

  70. Eric Predmore

    Absolutely wonderful and different
    Very simply nothing I didn’t like. I could feel these people. It was real and yet beautiful.

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