The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls

All right, hold onto your pants while I take you on this review. I picked this book up for $1 at the thrift store after reading the back of the book. Here is what it says:


The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing--a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.”



As a woman who comes from a crazy family, how could I resist such a synopsis?! I started reading this book with high expectations from the author. It is after all her own personal story. Let me tell you, she did not disappoint. Somehow, Jeanette managed to make her memoir into a beautiful fairytale that distracted me from the horrors that she endured as a child. She made every move her family made, every day her and her siblings starved and dug through dumpsters for food, into an adventure. My heart hurt for the Jeanette and her siblings, but more than that, it gave me a view into the way other people choose to live their lives. I say choose, because there is no other way to describe what these parents put their children through.


Usually when I read a book, I feel the way the character feels. If they hate someone, I hate them too. While I really tried to feel the love for her parents and the devotion she had for her drunk father, I couldn’t get over their selfishness or the neglect they put their children through. It could be me being a parent or a teacher who sees the outcome of students placed in neglect and homelessness, but I could NOT find any inkling of appreciation for the author’s parents.


“I’m a grown woman now,” Mom said almost every morning. “Why can’t I do what I want to do?”

Hmmm…maybe because you’re a mom and it’s not just about you!


I have to commend Jeanette Walls for putting herself and her family out there so much. She weaved beautiful prose and poetic styling into a tale of the heartbreaking reality she endured growing up. That couldn’t have been easy.


“One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. "You'd be destroying what makes it special," she said. "It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty.” 


Overall, I enjoyed this book. I sat down and read it in one sitting, I was so hooked. Usually this type of writing is not for me. I rarely find myself reading a memoir or book of non-fiction, but I am sure glad that I did. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a different perspective of life and see things from another’s point of view. It was good, so damn good.