Friday, August 3, 2012

Book Review: The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

You all know how much I love memoirs. For the past few years, I've had quite a few people recommend The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls to me, claiming it's the best memoir they've ever read.

Wondering why? Here's the Goodreads description:

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town—and the family—Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.

Every recommendation I'd received for this book was earned, as it was a really good novel. Walls reveals much about her childhood and family growing up with a viewpoint of a child and an adult. I enjoyed her reflections where she describes her reaction to a situation as a child, but then looks at the situation now through an adult's eyes. However, as the reader, I felt this was much more of a narration. I would have appreciated a reveal of more emotions from the author, so I could empathize more with her. This novel was not indelible for me; I'll never look back on it and think of how deeply it impacted my life. Overall, though, I would recommend this novel for all of you memoir lovers :)

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
Rating: 4/5         
Pages: 288          
Page Goal: 13,760/15,000  

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing from you! Leave your comment below!