Monday, December 5, 2011

Half Broke Horses

Book Review

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

Somewhere along the way I became vaguely aware that this is a book I wanted to read. I don't know when it happened. I don't know how it happened. But it did.

And when I had a gap in my reading on the treadmill, I just happened to stumble upon this in large print. Available right then in large print. Ready for reading in large print, immediately.

Good enough for me!

Right on the front cover, this is advertised as "a true-life novel". See those labels that I chose at the bottom of this blog post? I listed this as both fiction and non-fiction, since it is based on true events, but the details and dialogue have been manufactured.

But that's fine by me. This reads like a novel, is enjoyable like a novel, but rings truer than a novel.

Half Broke Horses

First, let me cut to the chase: I flat-out, hands-down, bar-none, loved this book.

After just my first forty-five or fifty minutes of reading this book, I told my husband, "This book might just change my life."

Make a note of it. For the record.

It might and it might not. But I said it, he heard it, and now you are recording it.

You are, right?

Anyways, back to the book.

This "true-life novel" is very well written, moves right along and never leaves me wanting something else. All I do want is more of this.

I know that the author has also written a memoir, but I've understood that it is a bit disturbing in the details. My love of Half Broke Horses might just win me over to the point of reading the memoir anyways.

This story, as written, focuses on a ranch-raised girl, the author's grandmother, and describes the many twists and turns in her life. It is skillfully and beautifully guided to end up focusing on the author's mother. I presume this can only be perfectly arranged to lead right into the beginning of the memoir, but I have yet to find out.

I say "skillfully and beautifully" because this is what I thought throughout reading this book, and I presume I will get more of the same from the memoir. I sure hope so.

This book lays out the landscape and characters (they really are true characters in every sense of the word) with enough detail to tie seamlessly with the few pictures included at the beginning of each section. This enhances to the authenticity already present in the writing.

I'm not sure what else to say about this book. Our heroine takes some tough knocks, but always learns her lesson and doesn't repeat her mistakes. And she never gives up. She goes after what she wants, even when life forces her to make several attempts. And she's practical about it all. What isn't to love?

Remember when I said I loved this book? It was just right up there. Well, anyways, I loved it so much it might have just made its way into my favorite top ten books.

Well, that is, if I had a top ten list of books. But I don't.

I can quickly come up with maybe a top three list. Maybe.

Let's see....

Jane Eyre
Luncheon of a Boating Party


...well, that's two....

Oh! Right! Half Broke Horses.


Well, I suspect there is a book out there that I've liked more than Half Broke Horses and, by rights, it has the honor of the number three position. I just can't remember it right now!

Half Broke Horses? Definitely top ten.

Oh, right. I'll get right on that top ten list.

Hmmm... what about Sweet Thursday?

I think I have to think about this some more....

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