Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Glass Castle - Book Review

The Glass Castle, a memoir by Jeannette Walls is a moving and surprisingly uplifting read. Surprising because she paints a picture that is at times so disturbing I had to put the book down.

The story chronicles her life with her parents, Rex and Rose Mary and her three siblings, Lori, Brian and Maureen. It begins when Jeannette is three years old and has to be rushed to the hospital because she was severely burned while trying to boil hot dogs on the stove.

It only goes down hill from there. She tells of how the family moved from place to place at a moment's notice, very rarely had a steady income, went days at a time without food, running water or clean clothing.

It had me wondering if all people are born with a survival instinct. The Walls children seemed to have that instinct. Their parents were clearly neglectful but the way in which Jeannette tells the story … I don’t know, it didn’t always feel that way. Her parents had their beliefs and that was just how it was. The children knew that life wasn’t perfect and they knew that the way they lived was not acceptable but there was still a great amount of love in that family. I found it interesting that that love didn't blind those children into believing that they had to remain in such horrible circumstances. When the children got old enough, they managed to escape and make much better lives for themselves.

This is a story of resilience, strength and courage that you can’t even imagine. When I finished The Glass Castle I let out a deep sigh of relief. I was glad that Jeannette made it. I was glad she lived to tell the story.

1 comment:

Kristy said...

So heartbreaking. You never know sometimes what some of our children are exposed to or live through (I guess it sounds weird to say "our children," but I work in a school and often view all children as all of our children to take care of.).