The Glass Castle isn’t an easy book to review. It’s an incredible example of resilience, how you can put yourself out of any situation as long as you set your mind to it — regardless of your age. Some of the events described in this memoir were absolutely shocking, heartbreaking and mostly infuriating. At times, it all seemed so bizarre that I had to keep reminding myself that if the author wrote this book, it meant she got through it all.
I had mixed feelings while reading the book. Jeannette’s parents, Rose Mary and Rex Walls, were quite unconventional. Her dad was an alcoholic, her mom an aspiring artist. They could barely make ends meet, being unable to keep their jobs and moving from place to place like nomads. If they would’ve been a couple without kids, I wouldn’t be criticizing them. But being a parent means providing for your children, right? And the more kids you have, the more income you need to make to sustain them. Well, Rose Mary and Rex would have probably disagreed with that statement. The Walls children had to basically look after themselves since a very young age. For example, Jeannette’s first childhood memory is from when she was three-years-old and burned herself while frying a hot dog.
But before you start hating on the parents, there were moments in which they did show they really care for their kids. While there wasn’t always food on the table, there was always education. The Walls children spent some years being homeschooled and once they actually started attending school, they had already learned the lessons at home. In between the episodes of chaos, there was love and family unity. The parents had plenty of chances to turn things around and start living like a normal life, but their stubborn ideals prevented them from doing so.
Not to mention Jeannette’s writing. Simple yet captivating, while reading the book I was immediately transferred to the open desert or the the humid little town of Welch. I felt like an observer, witnessing the hardships of the Walls family, unable to do anything except turn the page.
This is actually the first memoir I read from start to finish. I tried reading Eat Pray Love a few years ago but wasn’t able to finish it, thinking the genre didn’t suit me. Well I’m glad to find out I was wrong.
Overall rating: 5/5
“Things usually work out in the end.”
“What if they don’t?”
“That just means you haven’t come to the end yet.”