The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls
by Jeannette Walls
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.
I felt really pulled in by this book. While reading it, I compared many of the details that she shared to things in my own life that I remembered from childhood. No matter what your situation, I think that Walls wrote this book in a way that captivates everyone. Even if your childhood was nothing like hers, she tells of her deepest emotions that are shared by many children: loss of hope, fear, and ridicule.
I liked the fact that this book was separated into many short chapters. This made it very easy for me to read, because it broke up the book into specific episodes.
Walls makes no attempt to sugarcoat the events of her past. She tries to objectively give us her account of horrific things that took place; things that she had no control over. Though most of us would be ravaged with emotion and allow that to show in our writing, she somehow manages to create an unbiased account of things. Even though this novel is not an outright comedy, there are several moments where I found myself laughing.
This is in no way a lighthearted account of childhood, but rather a reflection of the past that allows the reader to better understand humanity as well as themselves.