Thursday, May 31, 2012

"The Glass Castle" By: Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle
"The Glass Castle"
By: Jeannette Walls

Synopsis from Goodreads:
In the tradition of Mary Karr's "The Liars' Club" and Rick Bragg's "All Over But the Shouting," Walls has written a stunning and life-affirming memoir about surviving a willfully impoverished, eccentric, and severely misguided family.
My Thoughts:
    My book group picked up “The Glass Castle” this past month simply because of word of mouth. Everyone had heard about it (except me!) so we decided we better see what all the fuss was about. Definitely one that makes you think, without a doubt the author, Jeannette Walls has had a pretty extraordinary life. We actually started our book group with this question and I believe it really sums up a lot about this book, “If you saw your mother going through a dumpster in raggedy clothes while you were with you friends, would you stop to introduce them?”
     “The Glass Castle” is really broken into two sections - one part when Jeannette is a child and they live in the desert, while the second half has the family growing older, making future decisions, and basically living very different lives. Jeannette’s parents believed in a very basic life. They were absolutely fine with not having electricity or water, they ate what they had, and rarely thought about the future. They home schooled their children and moved dozens of times during their childhoods. As Jeannette grew older, she realized normal families didn’t live this way - they actually have food in their refrigerators and don’t have to eat just margarine.
     This is one of those books that you read and keep asking yourself, really? REALLY? At points you love the parents, their free spirits and easy going natures. At other times you are so frustrated about their complete lack of guidance, selfishness, and basic crazy that you have to put the book down.
     Perhaps the most interesting point in this book, or perhaps what surprised me the most, was that the children knew the way they were living was terrible and none of them replicated the living conditions in adulthood. Their parents may be fine with not working, going to food shelters for every meal and living on the streets, but their children are most assuredly not.
     An interesting look at life that is utterly foreign to me, “The Glass Castle” is one of those books you share with your friends on a you’ve gotta read what these people live like basis. Interesting and intriguing, I would definitely recommend this to those who like intense nonfiction reads. Our book club read it and boy, did we have an intense discussion!

Book Details
Publisher: Scribner
Date of Publication: January 9, 2006
# of Pages: 288
ISBN: 978-074324754X 


  1. This is one of my favorite books. It's brilliantly written without overt scorn toward the parents, amazing considering what those children went through. It's almost more heartbreaking to see the wonder in the author's eyes at her daddy's tall tales; the reader sees the dysfunction without it being overly explained. This shows how mental illness comes in different shades; her parents were intelligent but clearly had major issues functioning in reality. The children were so strong to get through it. I recommend this book all the time!

  2. Wow! GREAT great point! The parents are extremely intelligent, yet they allow terrible wild things happen that are completely within their control. The bookgroup had a hard time with the fact the father almost prostituted his daughter. An intense book but excellent none the less.

    Have you read "Half Broke Horses" by the same author? I've heard its good, but haven't had a chance to read it! :)

    Thank you for stopping by :) You made my day!

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. Actually I gave it away for World Book Night. I like the way she told the story without being bitter or accusatory even though she had every right to be. I recommend this all the time. Glad your book group liked it, definitely a lot to discuss.