Glass Castle: A Memoir, The

Jeannette Walls
Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever. Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home. What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms. For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to MSNBC.com, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2019-09-09

“One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. "You'd be destroying what makes it special," she said. "It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Jeannette Walls gave us in this book the story of her broken and dysfunctional childhood, with an alcoholic father and a selfish mother, both intelligent but tormented by invisible monsters. Full of anecdotes with horrifying and beautiful moments, I was frustrated, angry, sad and sometimes having a hard time trying to believe everything was actually true. Jeannette after living these deep and sad moments, she wrote with resilience and objectivity, she’s like “this is my story, you decide how to see it” and I found that so real and powerful. I think is so inspiring how she walked away with love and understanding for her parents after the events. This story about broken promises is going to stay with me for a long time, I’m sure.

Reviewed: 2019-05-18

wonderful insight into the very complex issue of homelessness

 

Reviewed: 2018-08-11

Important Life Lessons I have picked up from this story:

1) Appreciate the safe. secure, and stable home environment your parents provided you as a child.  Not every child had that.

2) Always appreciate the adventure.  It may not always be sunny, but one day you can look back and see where you have come from.

3) There are true monsters out there that will prey on people.  Be mindful and protect yourself.

4) Not everyone has the capacity or the inherit needs to be good parents.

5) Family is always important.

 

Reviewed: 2017-03-10

This is a remarkable story. Everyone should read it.
-mm

Reviewed: 2015-11-28
Nature vs. nurture. It's a long-standing debate. I personally think nurture has a more to do with how you turn out as a person, but Jeannette Walls might have just proved me wrong.

This is the story of growing up with two parents who, to put it nicely, both have issues. My armchair psychiatrist degree says they both just might be mentally ill. Definitely co-dependent. And really bad parents. Jeannette and her siblings grow up roaming from place to place as her parents run from people of the real and imaginary sort. They are poor, and hungry, and really don't seem to realize how crazy their upbringing truly is. I can't believe no one stepped in and helped these kids, but I'm sure there are families right now who have it just as bad or worse and are under the radar like them.

This book made me mad. And sad. I realize it could have been worse for the Walls children. But what was there was bad enough. Now get off the computer, go hug a loved one, and be grateful for all that you have. It's a miracle Jeannette Walls grew up to make something of herself, so her nature won out over the terrible nurture she received. 4 stars for Jeannette and a virtual high five from me.
Item Posts
@saklog
@saklog completed #glasscastlethe... on 2015-06-20
@fordhamhouse
@maragtzr
@maragtzr completed #glasscastleamemo... on 2018-05-29
@maragtzr
@maragtzr began #glasscastleamemo... on 2018-05-28
@maragtzr
@maragtzr completed #glasscastleamemo... on 2018-05-29
@maragtzr
@maragtzr began #glasscastleamemo... on 2018-05-28
@lborsh
@lborsh completed #glasscastleamemo... on 2018-09-25
@lborsh
@lborsh began #glasscastleamemo... on 2018-09-25
@chrisquick
@chrisquick completed #glasscastlethe... on 2006-01-09
@areedcollett
@areedcollett completed #glasscastleamemo... on 2018-08-04
@areedcollett
@areedcollett began #glasscastleamemo... on 2018-08-02
@gdorney1
@gdorney1 completed #glasscastleamemo... on 2018-06-07
@gdorney1
@gdorney1 began #glasscastleamemo... on 2018-05-16
@greengateone
@greengateone completed #glasscastleamemo... on 2018-05-10
@greengateone
@greengateone began #glasscastleamemo... on 2018-04-20