My niece lent me these two books and I read both of them this weekend.  They are written by Jeannette Walls.  Half Broke Horses is the story of Jeannette’s grandmother’s life.  I really enjoyed this book as Jeannette’s grandmother,  Lily Casey Smith, was like a “half broke horse” herself.   By age 6 Lily was helping her father break horses.  At 15 she left home to teach in a frontier town –riding 500 miles on her pony, alone, to get to her job.  She learned to drive a car (“I loved cars even more than I loved horses.  They didn’t need to be fed if they weren’t working, and they didn’t leave big piles of manure all over the place”) and fly a plane.  Loved her strong character and strong zest for living life.  She was not afraid to take a risk and strike out on her own.  Great example of resilience…of being able to pick up and keep going after being knocked down by circumstances in life that seemed not to be fair…but then life isn’t fair…she married and with her husband Jim, she ran a vast ranch in Arizona.  She had a daughter, who is Jeannette’s mother, Rosemary Smith Walls,  and a son…and she struggled with being a mother and parent…great read…

The Glass Castle is Jeannette telling her story of growing up as one of the children of Rosemary Smith Walls and her husband Rex Walls.  An unforgettable story!  Two things this book brought to mind:

1.     The resilience of children and how they are able to survive and sometimes thrive under circumstances that seem unbearable.  Today we baby our children as we are afraid to allow any adversity into their lives…to protect them from any harm.  Are we doing them any favors by raising them in this way?  How do we teach our children to walk through adversity?  How do we teach our children to understand that “life isn’t fair” and sometimes we are going to get the short end of the stick?

2.    Homelessness…could it be the case that some of the homeless choose to be homeless and are quite happy living that way.  This book gives a whole new perspective on the whole issue of homelessness.  Do some people have such high ideals that they cannot function in this “fake” world of success and just opt out of it?  Both the mother and father in this book are amazingly brilliant and saw life from such a totally different perspective.  It would be interesting to see how the grandchildren of this couple embrace life and how Rosemary and Rex’s children raise their children.

Two great books…loved them both…thanks to my niece Heather for recommending them to me and sending me copies to read.  Two books worth reading!