53 pages 1 hour read

Jeannette Walls

Half Broke Horses

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2008

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Teacher Introduction

Half Broke Horses

  • Genre: Fiction; biographical historical fiction
  • Originally Published: 2008
  • Reading Level/Interest: College/Adult
  • Structure/Length: Nine chapters and epilogue; approximately 272 pages; approximately 7 hours, 55 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: Half Broke Horses is a novel based on the life of the author's grandmother, Lily Casey Smith. The central character, Lily, is a remarkable and resilient woman who faces numerous challenges while growing up in the American Southwest in the early 20th century. The central conflict revolves around Lily's determination to overcome adversity including poverty, gender expectations, and personal tragedies. The story is a tribute to her indomitable spirit and her journey through the changing landscapes of the American West.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Hardship; historical challenges; references to suicide and abortion; resources may refer to dated phrases

Jeannette Walls, Author

  • Bio: Born 1960; American author and journalist known for her memoir The Glass Castle and her works of fiction; received widespread acclaim for her storytelling abilities and candid portrayals of her own life and family; often explores themes of family, resilience, and personal journeys
  • Other Works: The Glass Castle (2005); The Silver Star (2013)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Guide:

  • “Life’s too short, honey, to worry what other people think of you.”
  • Learning How to Fall
  • Half-Broke Horses