Friday, March 25, 2011

BOOK: Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

so, i was a bit down at the beginning of this week. a good read should do me good. i went to popular bookstore, Boulevard, Kuching, yesterday to collect my membership card and also to window shop for books. (i'm dead broke, buying a book was out of question).

but, i did. i bought Jeannette Walls's Half Broke Horses. for the cover and for the author's note, by calling the book a novel, wheres others will categorize it memoir/biography. the story is about her grandma, Lily. a thin volume, it took only over couple hours to read. then, i re-read.

i'm not overly crazy of her writing style, nor the grandma she potrayed. i have no intention in my life to ever be in her shoes. no matter how adventurous her life sounded.

the story began with Lily, together with her younger siblings, Buster and Helen survived a Texas' plain flash flood when she was 10, then trot on her childhood living in a dugout, breaking horses for wagon horses, ranch chores and occassional flashback on her parents' families history. surviving a tornado and moved to a ranch in Arizona.

then, come the heartbreaking part of where she went to school and had to go back to the ranch because her gimp father bought dogs instead of paying for her tuition. throughout the book, Lily was potrayed as a sensible, practical and very resourceful woman. being so, at 15 she went to northern Arizona, 500 miles ride on a horse she broke herself. she took 4 weeks travelling the distance, alone on her own expenses to be a teacher. she got the position because there's shortage on teachers during the war and because of the remoteness of the place. when she's 18, the WW1 over, so was her temporary teaching position.

so, she went to Chicago. having no diploma or any academic certificate, she only can chose to become a factory worker or maid. she chose the later. it was in this city she met and married a salesman, Ted at 21. after 6 years of marriage, she discovered that Ted, actually has another family. brokenhearted, she annuled the wedding and went back to his father's ranch. finding no purpose in the ranch, as it now belong to her brother, Buster. She enrolled in the university to get her degree, she got her high school diploma in Chicago, attending night classes. on her second year, she got a position to teach at Red Lake, Arizona.

it was here she met her second husband, Jim, 20 years her senior who taught her to drive. when Lily went to Chicago, her pretty sister, Helen went to Los Angeles to try acting. She ended up pregnant and came up to Lily at Red Lake. she later commited suicide. her death sobered up Lily on her purpose in life. she decided to marry Jim and started a family. the family survived the Great Depression, thanks to Lily's resourcefullness. she even managed to learn flying small plane during the depression. the book ended with the birth of Jeannette Walls, the author of this book by Rosemary Smith, Lily's daughter.

Now, i really need to read The Glass Castle, Walls book on her mom, Rosemary.

this passage on page 207 , mugged my heart. (conversation between Lily and her small daughter, Rosemary over the Mormon's belief in temple garment)

"America is a free country," i said. "and that means people are free to believe whatever cockamamie thing they want to believe"

"so, they dont have to believe it if they dont want to?" Rosemary asked.

"no, they dont"

"but, do they know that?"

Malaysia is a free country too. do we know that? really?


ppong said...

so this is the book u mumbled last night. sounds interesting.

no, this country, we have only selective freedom.

kukuanga said...

our Malaysia better than most countries jg la kan?

quite interesting the book.. ui, popular ada great offer sekarang. i bought sky burial, hard cover dengan story yg sgt menyayat hati..

Patti's Pages said...

If you think Lily was resourceful, wait until you read The Glass Castle. Children can be remarkably resourceful in the face of abominably bad parenting.