The Glass Castle~Jeannette Walls

I don’t remember where I first heard about this book but when I saw it for sale at my local library, I had to have it. It’s a very intense memoir about life in the dysfunctional Walls family. The father, Rex Walls, is a brilliant and charismatic man but a raging alcoholic. He loves his children and teaches them about physics and geology and imbues them with a sense of fearlessness to face life head on. When he drank, he was destructive, selfish and always blaming his misfortune on someone else. Mrs. Walls, however, would have to be described as polar opposite. She was a free-spirited, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mother, who really didn’t want to be saddled with being a housewife or raising a family. She taught her kids to read by the time they were 5 and Mr. Walls taught them math.

Though he said he had a plan (to find gold), he often took jobs as an engineer or electrician to help make ends meet but spent much of it on alcohol, leaving the family without food, at times and other times, a stack of unpaid bills. When Mr.Walls was on a bender, Mrs. Walls would find a job as a teacher and the home would be flush with groceries. She would make a very large meal and fed the family on that one cooked meal all week long. When Mrs. Walls didn’t work, she spent all her time on her artwork, as well as quite a large portion of the family’s money. When the money was gone, they had to do the “skedaddle” in order to avoid the long arm of the law.

As a result of their gypsy lifestyle and lackadaisal parenting, the children learned to fend for themselves; they fed and clothed one another, protected each other and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them but opted to be homeless, though their children prospered.

The book has a great deal of profanity, some of which is very harsh. But if you can get past that, it’s a very riveting, albeit sad story. You have to admire the author’s courage and persistence, as well as her willingness to share what many would consider off limits. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. As I said, if you can get past the profanity for the sake of the memoir, it’s well worth it.

Jeannette Walls lives in Virginia with her husband, writer John Taylor. She is a regular contributor to MSNBC

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Make up tips
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 20:31:48

    I just signed up to your blogs rss feed. Will you post more on this subject?

    Reply

    • randomlady65
      Oct 03, 2011 @ 11:21:32

      I have 3 more books for My Book Report but have yet to finish them. lol Thank you so much for your interest and I will always take suggetions on books to read and “report” on here on my site.

      Reply

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