Skip to main content

Throwback Thursday: The Glass Castle





Author: Jeannette Walls
Published: 2006
Publisher: Scribner
Number of Pages: 288
My Rating: 5


Summary from GoodReads.com:
        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.






    This was one of those books that I had heard of throughout the years but didn’t know anyone who had read it so I never realized what I was missing out on. One day, I saw it at my local thrift store and felt the instant need to snatch it up and start reading. 

    The Glass Castle is a memoir about the author’s childhood and growing up essentially homeless for a big chunk of her life. Sometimes memoirs can read slow and are very fact-based without much life in them. Not this one. Jeannette Walls’ writing style was fast-paced and attention grabbing from the first sentence. Her story was very straightforward and not whiny at all, even though she went through some things that we couldn’t even imagine. The way she tells her story, with vivid details and specific memories, is refreshing and enlightening. 

    There are four children in the Walls family: Lori, Jeannette, Brian, and Maureen. The story begins with Jeannette’s, the narrator’s,  first memory as a child when she was three-years-old and cooking hot dogs on the stove by herself. No supervision. Where were her parents? you might ask. Good question. And that’s only the beginning.

     Rex Walls was an always-unemployed entrepreneur at best and a chronic alcoholic at worst. Mary Walls was a painter who would rather let her children starve to the point where they would find their meals in the garbage than get a job. It was really hard to read this book and not feel extremely angry with her parents all of the time. They were “free souls” I guess you could say, but were both enormously selfish and immature. Not only did they fail to step up to the responsibility of supervising and being there for their children, but they also turned a blind eye to all kinds of physical and sexual abuse the children received from other family members and neighbors. Their mantra was simply “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger,” and that was how they excused these monstrosities their children had to live through without actually having to do anything about them.

    There were times, however, that Walls’ parents stepped up and inspired something within their children that would help them survive and thrive. Instead of treating them like children, her parents often treated the kids like adults and taught them about things such as physics, the stars, and great literary works. By their neglect and mode of parenting, it gave the children the ways of survival and curiosity they would need to prosper and save themselves in the end. 

    This was a powerful and thought-provoking book, which showed how much one person can go through and survive, coming out stronger and smarter because of it all. I came away from this book inspired by the author’s determination and ingenuity, and extremely thankful that I’ve never had to live in a car or scrounge through the trash for my next meal. 


To end with one of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Things usually work out in the end."
"What if they don't?"
"That just means you haven't come to the end yet.”




-Busy Brunette

Comments

  1. I loved this one - it's on my All-Time Favorite Nonfiction List. And it's definitely a great example of truth is stranger than fiction.
    PS - I'm planning to do your tag post next week - I had a couple reviews I needed to get up this week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I keep talking about this one because I loved it so much! Can't wait to see your post :)

      Delete
  2. Lovely review! I personally didn't like the book, but I know I'm in the minority on this one. Glad you enjoyed it though!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it so funny how different people feel about books? I feel like people either loved this one or felt completely the opposite.. have you read any of her other books?

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: Before We Were Yours

My Rating: 5
It has been about a month since I finished this book and it honestly took me that long to recover enough in order to write a review.
Before We Were Yours is one of the best books I have ever read, and if you know me at all, you would realize I don’t toss that statement around lightly. By saying that, however, in no way am I saying that this is a happy read, because it is also one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful books I have ever read in my life, as well.
Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals (although the main characters are fictional), the story is that of Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, who would kidnap poor children and then sell them to wealthy families all over the country from the 1920s through the 1950s.
Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four siblings are the victims of this type of crime, and half of the book is their journey and fight to get back home. The other half is that of present-day Avery, a prose…

Book Review: Pretty Girls

My Rating: 4
Have you ever read a book that was so dark and twisted that you literally felt like you lost a piece of your innocence after finishing it? Yeah, that’s what I felt as I was reading Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter.
Needless to say, this book threw me for quite the loop. I was expecting a story about missing girls (which I got), what I wasn’t expecting, however, was an extremely graphic tale of violence and gore full of shocking scenarios and senseless acts that would leave me slightly traumatized and lying awake at night thinking about (which is what I also got).
I’m not trying to be dramatic with this review, but honestly, this book will seriously mess you up. It is not at all for the faint of heart and it will exhaust you every time you finish a chapter. Still with me? Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
Pretty Girls was a crazy psychological thriller that continued to throw plot twists and mysteries at me until I didn’t think I could handle it anymore, then it took a sharp left…

Book Review: The Good Widow

My Rating: 4
I finished this book in under two days. TWO DAYS. Given the fact that I have a toddler now, that's saying something.

The Good Widow is about Jacks, a woman who finds out that her husband has died in a tragic car accident when on his business trip to Kansas. Or so she thought. Turns out he died in Hawaii… with another woman.

Now Jacks is left with not only the devastating blow that her husband was lying to her about his whereabouts, but also the fact that he was having an affair, as well. She is trying to pick up the pieces of her life when the other woman’s fiancé arrives at her door, left with the same questions Jacks has about the mystery surrounding their deaths. Together, they will try to find out the truth about who their significant others really were.

The book had a lot of twists and turns I never saw coming. I liked how it switched perspectives and timelines of before/after the accident, as I felt this made the pace go a lot faster. The feelings the characters had…