Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Publisher:  Scribner
Publish Date:  January 9, 2006
ISBN: 978-0743247542
Pages: 288

I don't generally read memoirs (true stories) but am trying to be more open-minded on what I read, so I gave this one a go.  The GLASSCASTLE is the story of a woman who grew up with 'different' parents.  To me, it's amazing that she and her siblings became who they are.

Jeannette's father was a drunk and a gambler and couldn't/wouldn't keep a job.  He wasn't above using his own children to 'get away' with things.  For instance, when she was a teenager, she had to play up to a grown man so that her dad could win money at a pool game.  When she got mad about it, her dad said that he knew she could handle herself and she did.  What kind of father does that?!

Jeannette's mother was a free spirit, an artist who believed that she could paint and write and just hadn't been discovered yet.  She also had a teaching certificate but hated to teach as it kept her from her artistic endeavors.

Both parents came across as fun at first, but they spiraled down to immaturity and selfishness as the story went on.  The fact that all the children made it out and made something of themselves is a miracle.  Ms. Walls, at times, seems like she's trying to say "but it was fun at times!" to make it all better; but it's not okay.

What really gets me is that these children never had a chance to really truly be children.  I sympathize as I grew up having parents that were immature and by an early age, I was also taking care of things that I shouldn't have.  Of course, these children had it much worse than I could ever imagine.  This is one that's worth reading.  There is a prequel that goes on to show how Jeannette's mother grew up, I'm interested to see what insight that will give.


  1. I know quite a few people who loved this even though it's a hard book. As a parent, I'm not sure I'm in a good place to read it, right now...those sorts of things tend to get me all types of emotional. I will eventually read it, though. Great review.

  2. I don't usually read memoirs either. It's great that you're trying to read a wider variety of books!

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