Monday, February 1, 2010

Book Review - The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (two n’s because it is more elegant an French, according to the author’s mother)

Where to start? Every free second I was reading this book. Page-turner would be a mild way of describing how the words just flow across each page. And to image that all of these stories actually happened and to the same person is astounding. Pretty much ever chapter enraged me and astonished me. (See bottom of post for example.)

Jeannette Walls goes into detail about her life with her father, Rex Walls, a brilliant alcoholic who can’t keep a job and spends his time at bars rather than with his family. Her mother, who feels that the world owes her and that she has always had to take care of other people so now she is taking care of herself. And of course her resilient siblings who braved the harsh world along side of her. The ups and downs of this family are unbelievable. The author writes and you see each story through her eyes and at the age she was. I found myself laughing and shrugging off a scenario in the book, as that is how she presented it, only to step back and realize the gravity of the situation and how lucky she was not to have been hurt worse of even killed. There were certain stories that I became enraged about including several situations that her PARENTS put her in where there was molestation and sexual abuse. They shrugged it off when she told them and asked for help. One point her mother said something along the lines of, “Oh he must be lonely. Poor guy. Be nice to him.” The words and descriptions in this book make you feel as though you area bystander along for the road trip and hoping and praying for something to turn around for this family. A great book and I deeply admire the author for overcoming and becoming the person she is today.

I leave you with one of the most interesting stories, in my opinion, that I was fortunate enough to find an excerpt of one of my favorite stories from the book on Google Books.


  1. This book is GREAT!! SO moving for sure. And THANKS for the comment on my blog :) I definitely can go through the motions and it takes those extreme events to sort of bring you back to the heart of the matter. Where in CA do you live??

  2. I had the same range of emotions, but I still wish someone had taken those kids from their parents and thrown the sorry pair in jail. Talk about the system failing those children.

  3. Anne, I absolutely agree! I just kept thinking, how can one teacher not notice that these kids are starving? Or when you had a brief glimpse of hope at one point only to have it never return. Yes, I can't imagine how they survived the way they did.

  4. Kerry, Iove your blog. I added it to my Google Reader account too! I am in Santa Rosa right now but hopefully one day (soon?) San Francisco.