Half Broke Horses is a “true-life” novel, meaning that Walls took all the stories she had heard and collected about her grandmother and wove them into a narrative, smoothing them into place in a coherent timeline. Since the novel is written in the first person, she admits to assuming her grandmother’s thoughts and exact words, and it’s probably best to just treat the whole thing as probable fiction – beyond that, though, many of the stories kind of defy belief! From learning to fly a plane during the Depression to occasionally threatening a nefarious character with a pearl-handled revolver, Lily Smith had quite the life!
I’m surprised to find no one else has reviewed Half Broke Horses, since I know I’ve seen lots of talk about the Glass Castle, and I always thought the two were somewhat related in tone and content. Having read Half Broke Horses and some reviews about Glass Castle, I can see that the tone might shift a bit, but I really enjoyed it, and I talked about why over on my blog!