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An Epic Story of Courage and Fortitude
am 26. November 2011
I really loved reading Half Broke Horses, in which Jeannette Walls introduces us to her maternal grandmother, Lily Casey Smith. Walls' grandmother died when Walls was still a child, but the author has beautifully crafted this novel building on details and memories supplied by her own mother, around whom Walls' earlier book, The Glass Castle, is focused. Lily's "stories" seem as vivid as if Walls had witnessed every one of them herself, and Lily herself is fully brought to life on the pages of the book - her determination, her fortitude, her irreverence, her sense of humor, her hopes, her disappointments, her heartbreaks, her mistakes, and her triumphs. The family pictures which are strategically placed throughout the book, illuminating various sections, add to the sense of actually knowing the characters. This is one of those novels that I didn't want to see come to an end. I felt that Lily was a long-time acquaintance, and I didn't want to say goodbye to her. The only thing that interfered with my absolute enjoyment of the novel was the nagging sense of wishing that I had asked my own grandmother, who was born at around the same time as Lily and died in 2002 at the age of 102, more about her life and her stories. Such a missed opportunity!