Book: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
For: Fun (nonfiction book of the month)
From: I bought it, I forgot where
This one has been on the nightstand forever, waiting a turn. Finally, I decided everything else had to wait while it got read! And all you people who have been saying "read it! read it" for so long now... you were right. What a story it is! Gripping! Sad! Funny in parts! Inspiring! All of it. Wow.
First a bit of a summary for the one or two that haven't read it yet. The author tells her childhood story, in which she and her two sisters and one brother are raised by an alcoholic father and a...crazy? mother. Their childhood is filled with neglect beyond understanding, yet at the same time, a sense of family loyalty and togetherness that is hard to fathom under the circumstances. They are hauled around from home to home, never being able to feel a sense of stability. Their dad can not keep a job, gets in trouble with the law, drinks up and/or gambles the little bit of money they have. Their mom feels the need to paint all the time, but never seems to try and sell her paintings to help out the finances. She can teach, but also can't keep a job because she has no sense of sticking with a system. She's probably extremely clinically depressed, and she, no matter her issues and problems are, simply does not take care of her kids.
Yet some how, along the way, they both teach these kids interesting life lessons. They seem to be well educated and the kids, when they do end up in a school, are miles ahead of the other kids. Interesting that is. So it's so weird to me that they could not get their act together. We can blame alcoholism, and I guess depression. But still. The question that went around over and over in my head was, why? Why are they like this? What made them be this way?
There were some things that happened that were very painful to read. The filthy conditions they lived in, slop buckets, kitchens with open live wires, roof leakage where the ceiling just fell down and was ignored, eating cat food, eating butter, garbage everywhere, sleeping in boxes, no plumbing for baths. Wow. What we take for granted, huh?
But the very worst moment came when the dad took his daughter out gambling and basically let her be manhandled, and nearly raped, as "help" to get them more money, which he used of course for drink. That's when my chin hit the floor. And how old was she? Like 13 or something?
The parents never recovered, but the resiliency of the kids is where this book is inspirational. How they were able to see through all this and get themselves out was amazing. And to go on to become a best selling author. People really can do anything they set their minds to!
Bottom line: I loved it.
A Literary Odyssey
Books and Movies
Trish's Reading Nook
Lit and Life
....and many more.