“A triumphant exposé...”With millions of copies sold & a film on the way, reporter Walls’s memoir is a triumphant exposé on the one subject she knows best: her dysfunctional family.
The first book by the beloved author of the new novel The Silver Star, the extraordinary, one-of-a-kind, “nothing short of spectacular” (Entertainment Weekly) memoir from one of the world’s most gifted storytellers.
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.
Topics: West Virginia, New York City, Appalachia, Family, Poverty, Childhood, Alcoholism, Homelessness, Siblings, Survival, Fathers, Daughters, Inspirational, Emotional, Witty, Mental Illness, 21st Century, Coming of Age, Mothers and Daughters, American Dream, First Person Narration, Female Author, and Dysfunctional Family
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COTC Book Club November 2010 selection.more
Her parents made me so mad, though. I kept getting distracted by my anger at them. I wonder what it says about me that I lacked even a drop of pity for them. Their kids, on the other hand, were truly amazing and resilient creatures that I rooted for the entire time.more
I felt the emotions most people probably did reading it -- loved the kids' sense of adventure, acceptance, and family in the first half of the book. Hated the Dad and Mom in the later part for their lack of responsibility and for the cycles they fell in.
What I find really interesting is how factual most of the story is relayed. This is what happened. This is the way it was. The author conveys her emotions from that time, but does not seem to have any current emotions in her memories. She has removed herself. Therapy?
A few additional thoughts: the Walls kids were adept at overcoming their circumstances and doing their best to appear normal despite the poverty at home -- a reminder that we don't always know the backgrounds of those around us, and we should not be quick to judge poverty, either.
Second, I find it interesting how stereotypical the parents come across, particularly when they are street people in New York. The mother especially. Finally, the summer when the author is in charge of the money but can't say no to her father is very successful in stopping any judgements from the reader along the vein of "I would have said no". It does not say "don't judge" but it removes the opportunity. Neat.
Oh, and I'm very grateful for my own cushy upbringing, though I'm probably not as tenacious as those kids. Which reminds me -- they seemed to get on very easily in NewYork City. I wonder if that's true, or if, for them, after their past it just felt much easier.more
Stark, unadorned retelling with surprisingly very little judgment towards the events of her early life, Jeanette Walls crafts a fairy-tale memoir as viewed, in reverse, from a cracked and dirty mirror. A reflection on the self-affirming past that we tell ourselves existed when we were really just gifting Venus.
A valid point from the NYT's review by Francine Prose "At times, the litany of gothic misfortune recalls Harry Crews's classic memoir, ''A Childhood.'' The two books have striking similarities; both, for example, feature the horrific scalding of a child. But to think about Crews's book is to become aware of those mysterious but instantly recognizable qualities -- the sensibility, the tonal range, the lyrical intensity and imaginative vision -- that distinguish the artist from the memoirist, qualities that suggest the events themselves aren't quite so interesting as the voice in which they're recounted."more