Book Club Kit: Half Broke Horses

Half Broke HorsesHalf Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel
by Jeannette Walls
First Published: 2009
10 Copies & Reading Guide

This is a novel based on the life of the author’s grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, who learned to break horses in childhood, journeyed five hundred miles as a teen to become a teacher, and ran a vast ranch in Arizona with her husband while raising two children.

Reading Guide:
Simon & Schuster: Includes an Introduction to the Book and Discussion Questions.

The New York Times: “Untamed Heart” by Liesl Schillinger
Entertainment Weekly: “Half Broke Horses – Jeannette Walls” by Lisa Schwarzbaum


  • Simon & Schuster Author Page: Jeannette Walls
  • Jeannette Walls Discusses the Book:

If you enjoyed Half Broke Horses, you might like:
The Glass Castle (Book Club Kit) by Jeannette Walls
These is My Words (Book Club Kit) by Nancy E Turner
Plainsong by Kent Haruf
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Food Bonus! Check out The Book Club Cookbook for book-inspired recipes for Cowboy Hash and Cornbread Fritters.


Book Club Kit: The Glass Castle

The Glass CastleThe Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls
First Published: 2005
6 Copies & Reading Guide

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers – Includes an Introduction to the Book, Author Info, and Discussion Questions

The New York Times – “The Glass Castle: Outrageous Misfortune” by Francine Prose
The Today Show – “Life in Glass Castle Only Made Walls Stronger” by Denise Hazlick
Goodreads – Find out what fellow readers are saying about The Glass Castle.

Simon & Schuster Author Page: Jeannette Walls
Video – Jeannette and Her Mother

If you enjoyed The Glass Castle, you might like:
Half Broke Horses (Book Club Kit) by Jeannette Walls
A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt