Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Glass Castle - a Memoir by Jeannette Walls

When I was on vacation in Greece, my friend E recommended The Glass Castle - a Memoir by Jeannette Walls to me.  It was something she read on the plane ride home from her honeymoon, and she was about to start the author's second novel while in Greece.  With such a high recommendation, I was intrigued, and after reading up on it I decided to download it and give it a go.  Only a few pages in, I was hooked. 

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The story opens with Jeannette Walls as a three year old cooking for herself in the family trailer out in the western portion of the country and ending up in the hospital.  From there, her parents take her and her siblings on a wild "adventure" that crosses multiple states and areas - from California to New Mexico to Nevada.  Each time they only stay put for a short period of time.  Having only a small amount of money, they live on next to nothing with very few possessions.  For any number of reasons - running away from bills or the police - they pick up and move onto the next place.  In the beginning, when the children are younger, it really does seem like a fun adventure.  Their parents are fun and interesting to be with.  They always felt like they were in the middle of a fantasy, with the promise of the Glass House that their father designed.  

However, as they get older they begin to face the reality that maybe their parents are not so much fun, and that life for them is perhaps not that normal.  After some final circumstances in the southwest, the family moves to West Virginia to a small town in Appalachia where the author's father grew up, and they remained there through high school, living in a "house" where they didn't have indoor plumbing and had to bury their garbage in the back yard.  

This story was fascinating.  To think this is how a family actually lived their lives was amazing.  Even with such a crazy home life, all of the children were extremely smart, having been home schooled by their parents.  Watching them succeed and grow up in the face of such odd adversity was interesting and made for an absorbing read.  

1 comment:

  1. read this one about 3 years ago! I still recommend it to people. I LOVED IT!


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