Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

On the back cover:
"The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family.
The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.
The Glass Castle is truly astonishing-a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family."

This book was awful. There was not one part that I enjoyed. The language was horrible the whole way through starting at the beginning and never giving the reader rest. The only reason I made it through this book was to finish it for book club.

Depressing to say the least. These poor children were neglected in the worst way, living in poverty with parents who were most definitely able to do better but chose not to. The children were sent to school at one point and had no food to eat. They would sit at a table, acting like they weren't hungry and then rummage through the garbage cans after everyone else was done. One child ate a stick of butter because there was nothing else in their fridge. Their mom complained about it being gone, most likely because she was going to eat it. She seemed to always come first.

Rex, the father, was an alcoholic who stole all the family money to drink. Jeannette and Lori, Jennette's sister, decided they had had enough and were going to get to New York. Lori would graduate soon so they started saving their money. Making a dollar here and there babysitting and making posters for people.

"One evening in May, when we'd been saving our money for almost nine months, I came home with a couple of dollars to stash them in Oz. The pig was not on the old sewing machine. I began looking through all the junk in the bedroom and finally found Oz on the floor. Someone had slashed him apart with a knife and stolen all the money.

I knew it was Dad, but at the same time, I couldn't believe he'd stoop this low. Lori obviously didn't know yet. She was in the living room humming away as she worked on a poster. My first impulse was to hide Oz. I had this wild thought that I could somehow replace the money before Lori discovered it was missing. But I knew how ridiculous that was; three of us had spent the better part of a year accumulating the money. It would be impossible for me to replace it in the month before Lori graduated.

I went into the living room and stood beside her, trying to think of what to say. She was working on a poster that said TAMMY! in Day-Glo colors. After a moment she looked up. "What?" she said.

Lori could tell by my face that something was wrong. She stood up so abruptly she knocked over a bottle of india ink, and ran into the bedroom. I braced myself, expecting to hear a scream, but there was only silence and then a small, broken whimpering."

This is a heartbreaking true story. I am shocked that this is allowed to happen but most of all that people who have children allow this to happen to their own children.

I give The Glass Castle 2 stars.


Heather said...

Oh no...! I hate sad stories! Maybe I'll pass on this one. You were brave to finish it - I don't think I could have. Just the part you posted breaks my heart. There had better be a special place in hell reserved for these people!

Misty Moncur said...

No kidding. I hate sad books. Still, the writing looked good. Thanks for the review.

Jillian said...

Wow, that sounds like a fun read. I can't believe you made it through the whole thing. I can't stand depressing books that only seem to bring the reader down. Thanks for the review - I will steer clear of this one!

Rosenbalm Photography said...

The writing was very good. The story line keeps you going cuz you want to find out what will happen, hoping that it all works out.