Title: The Glass Castle: A Memoir
Author: Jeannette Walls
Published: 2006 Scribner
Read For: Thursday Night Book Club
My Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
If you keep abreast of the bestsellers, you will not be unfamiliar with The Glass Castle. You may even have read it. This book seems to pop up everywhere, and with good reason. It is a memoir of an extraordinary childhood; it is a testament to human will and resourcefulness; it is an amazing picture of one's capacity to forgive, to adapt.
Lest you think that it is a typical story of a bad childhood, let me assure you that this remembrance is far from typical. While Jeannette's parents were often negligent, while they dealt with chemical and emotional issues, they also made many efforts to educate their children in academics and arts. She learned advanced science and math from her father (can you imagine doing your mathematics in binary?) and a love of reading and the arts from her mother (Jeannette tells of her mother bringing pillowcases of library books home).
Jeannette Walls did a great job of telling her own story while being respectful to her other family members. Throughout the book I felt her ride the line between wanting to share her story, and wanting to prevent a sweeping judgement of her parents and siblings. You can feel her struggle between loyal love and hurt resentment. If you aren't a big fan of non-fiction, you'll appreciate how easy this is to read, and how quickly it moves. In either case, it is a book worth reading.