Monday, 7 January 2008

The Glass Castle

Read as part of the 888 Challenge.

The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls

I had such a strong reaction to this book. It made me so furious that sometimes I wanted to reach into the book and shake Jeannette's Mum and Dad. It also made me unbelievable sad and grateful for my own childhood. The end is ultimately uplifting in that Jeannette and all her siblings go on to make good lives for themselves but it could so easily have gone the other way.

Jeannette's parents were completely dysfunctional and left their children to bring themselves up. They often went hungry, were dirty and didn't get proper medical treatment. One of the saddest moments, for me, is when the oldest daughter finally gets glasses and is amazed at what the world really looks like.

There were moments when they did nice things. I loved when the Dad took them out into the desert and had them pick a Star for Christmas when they were too poor to buy presents. They also seemed to install a sense of adventure, self reliance and optimism in their children. None of whom seem to resent them for their upbringing.

It's an extremely interesting read and makes for a great book club discussion.

3 comments:

  1. I found this book extremely disturbing because like the mom, I love to read and paint. I couldn't believe it that she would sit with piles of library books or paint all day while her kids were starving! It made me shudder to see my passion turned into a vice.

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  2. Jeane I found that Mum very disturbing too. I was appalled when she wouldn't sell the ring and tried to hide the chocolate bar. I think she had a lot of problems.

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  3. I gave my daughter this book for Christmas. Maybe I can borrow it when she is done. Thanks for the review.

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I adore comments, so thanks so much for taking the time. I'll try and return the favour :D