The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

May 15, 2012

I have really mixed feelings on this one. When I read Half-Broke Horses, I wished I had read this first. But then, once I started this one, I was glad I read them in the order I did. Besides providing perspective, it gave me the needed incentive to push through some of the difficult parts. And there are a lot of difficult parts. I can't believe what the Walls kids grew up with.

First, there's Rex. An alcoholic (up to 2 QUARTS of liquor a day), he has one foul mouth. Just be warned...even when he's sober, he swears up a storm. He's a dreamer but lazy and irresponsible.

Rose Mary is so selfish and child-like: She won't go to her job as a teacher because she wants to paint; she owns land worth a million dollars, but her children go hungry; she won't swear or drink, but she's married to Rex. She just has a mind-boggling personality.

There are also some scenes with family members (the grandma and the uncle), as well as some random people, that are disturbing.

So I'm torn because I'd have a hard time recommending it to people because of some of the content, and yet, I want to recommend it to everyone because it was so well-written, so engrossing, and it will make you appreciate your own life. It's a true story, and sometimes it's hard to read the truth but reading it changes your life for the better.

The Walls kids are inspiring: they took care of themselves, they developed a strong work ethic in spite of their parents, and they became successful, contributing members of society. And through all of the neglect, Jeannette Walls still paints a picture of family togetherness and love, and not just between the siblings. Jeannette, although critical of and honest about her father's weaknesses, was also his biggest fan. She does a great job with saying more than, "Look at the hard, terrible childhood we had," but also, "These events and people helped me make the decisions that shaped my life into what it is today."

This is a book that I debated reading for a long time, but in the end, I'm glad I did. Who needs fiction when there are real stories like this?

I wrote this review before creating this blog.

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