Half Broke Horses Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Half Broke Horses

Lily Casey in the early 1900's as endures hardships on her farm, sexism in her career, raising a family during the depression and yet manages to keep it altogether. Lily Casey Smith was born and raised on a homestead in West Texas in the early 1900's, with her family, raising chickens and hogs, breaking horses, and peacocks. Life was tough, enduring floods and tornados and droughts. Lily's mom came from a well-to-do family and in spite of the dirt floor and lean times, she raised her girls to be 'ladies'.
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Lily was tough, had bow legs and buck teeth, not the kind of beauty her younger sister was. Her father taught her all her schooling at home and in turn she taught her sister and brother. At 13 Lily was sent to finishing school in Santa Fe.

It was 500 miles from home. Lily rode her favorite horse the whole way - it took 4 weeks. She was very good at math and reading and even got a scholarship. But it wasn't enough to keep her there when her father couldn't pay the tuition. So she got a job in a nearby one-room school house. It wasn't soon after that she was notified they didn't need her anymore. On her way home she saw an airplane for the first time and was fascinated. She went back home to try to find what her purpose was. She decided to go to Chicago and get her diploma.

In Chicago, she met a man, got married and shortly found out he was already married. Devastated she got an annulment and went home.

Lily got another teaching job, raced horses to make extra money and met Jim Smith who became her husband - for life. They had 2 children, lived on a ranch also enduring hardships. They then moved to Phoenix to try to make a fresh start. They hated the city, the noise, the people so they made enough money to move back to a ranch at Horse Mesa.

Lily finally did get her pilots license and her diploma.
She went back to teaching in a one-room school house again, her daughter got married and she and Jim lived their lives out there.
Best part of story, including ending: I liked the truth of Lily's life and how she persevered no matter how good or bad things were for her.

Best scene in story: I like it when Lily and her almost son-in-law Rex went flying over the fields. She finally got to see that he was a good man for her daughter.

Opinion about the main character: I liked the strength of Lily and her determination to do something with her life.

The review of this Book prepared by Kathy Ediss a Level 2 American Robin scholar

Chapter Analysis of Half Broke Horses

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1900-1920's Poverty, surviving    -   Yes Kind of living:    -   farm poverty Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   teacher Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   6 () Prairie?    -   Yes Farm/Ranch?    -   Yes Farm/Ranch:    -   farm

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Jeannette Walls Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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