The Glass Castle Author:Jeannette Walls Jeannette Walls's father always called her "Mountain Goat" and there's perhaps no more apt nickname for a girl who navigated a sheer and towering cliff of childhood both daily and stoically. In The Glass Castle, Walls chronicles her upbringing at the hands of eccentric, nomadic parents -- Rose Mary, her frustrated-artist mother... more », and Rex, her brilliant, alcoholic father. To call the elder Walls's child rearing style laissez faire would be putting it mildly. As Rose Mary and Rex, motivated by whims and paranoia, uprooted their kids time and again, the youngsters (Walls, her brother and two sisters) were left largely to their own devices. But while Rex and Rose Mary firmly believed children learned best from their own mistakes, they themselves never seemed to do so, repeating the same disastrous patterns that eventually landed them on the streets.
Walls describes in fascinating detail what it was to be a child in this family, from the embarrassing (wearing shoes held together with safety pins; using markers to color her skin in an effort to camouflage holes in her pants) to the horrific (being told, after a creepy uncle pleasured himself in close proximity, that sexual assault is a crime of perception; and being pimped by her father at a bar). Though Walls has well earned the right to complain, at no point does she play the victim. In fact, Walls' removed, nonjudgmental stance is initially startling, since many of the circumstances she describes could be categorized as abusive (and unquestioningly neglectful). But on the contrary, Walls respects her parents' knack for making hardships feel like adventures, and her love for them -- despite their overwhelming self-absorption -- resonates from cover to cover.« less
The Market's bargain prices are even better for Paperbackswap club members!
Retail Price:$16.00 Buy New (Paperback): $12.29 (save 23%) or Become a PBS member and pay $8.39+1 PBS book credit (save 47%)
Wow. A stunning look at a family experiencing extreme poverty. But maybe it's not the story you expect. Until the children become teenagers, their life is hard, but poverty is not their focus. They are fun, loving, warm, and a bit madcap. It really underscores that young children long to and will if possible bond with and love their parents. But the poverty and deprivation are there and oh, so deep.
Jeannette Walls had an unusual childhood. Her dad was an alcoholic with big plans and her mother was an artist always on the lookout for an adventure. Together these 2 had 4 children, including the author. They moved around a bit and money was always tight. The children were often forced to fend for themselves. It was a very moving story told in brief glimpses at various points of the author's youth. All I could think while reading is "Wow, if she was able to survive all of that and come out on top, pretty much anyone can!" Fascinating and highly recommended.
I was immediately drawn into this book! Wow! There were times during my reading when I wanted to reach into the book and strangle Mary and Rex for being so selfish and stubborn. I'm all for raising kids to be self-sufficient, but it is a parent's responsibility to care for their children. I did admire them in ways. Despite their seriously flawed parenting style, or perhaps because of it, their three oldest children turned out just fine. I would not have wanted to grow up like they did, but the Walls family did have some good times and I did agree with Mary and Rex on some points regarding parenting. Poor Maureen seemed out of the loop with her older siblings. She had missed out on happier times with her parents, who no longer had any 'skedaddle' left in them by the time they reached Welch, and she suffered because of it. She did not receive much attention from her parents and was not as self-sufficient as her siblings were. I felt bad for her and I hope she turned out alright. I really enjoyed this book.
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls is a memorable memoir about kids growing up in a highly dysfunction family. Both parents were extremely intelligent, but seemed to do everything they could avoid work and properly provide for Jeanette and her three siblings. Instead, the kids were always dirty, hungry outcasts. What makes this book so memorable is that Walls relays the tragic events in a positive, and at times amusing, light. The parents made their poverty out to be an adventure. Jeanette doesn’t seem to judge the parents harshly, when I’m not sure most people would be so tolerant. Her father was an alcoholic. Her self-centered mother only wanted to be an artist. She was seriously devoid of maternal instincts genes. The need to work so her family could eat was a distasteful concept. When she was “forced” to take a teaching job, the kids were the ones who ended up grading her papers and nearly pushing her out the door to work. Both parents made sure their kids knew Santa Claus wasn’t real, just in case they got it into their heads that they might actually get lavish presents. They weren’t complete scrooges, though. They did celebrate Christmas—just a week later. That way they could grab a tossed out Christmas tree and good ribbons and bows. One memorable moment was when Jeanette’s dad gave her a star for a Christmas present. He told her to pick one out of the sky and she could have it for keeps. “Years from now, when all the junk they [the other kids] got is broken and long forgotten,” Dad said, “you’ll still have your stars.” Read other reviews at http://readinginthegarden.blogspot.com
I loved this book. I was absorbed from page 1. It's not a happy story about growing up dirt poor for the most part, but the author expressed it in such a way that we become fully engaged with the MC's ability to forge ahead and leave her unfortunate circumstances. Those being her parents who, although aren't stupid, but lack the positive ambition of being good parents. They so seldom work that the children find ways to support their parents, even though mama is holding on to acres of property that could provide them a suitable life. Even after all four children leave home and become productive adults, the parents are content to leave a homeless life. It was a sad/happy ending.