Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

I read The Glass Castle years ago and enjoyed the story.  The Walls family is led by an alcoholic father, Rex and a mentally ill and eccentric mother, Rose Mary.  They lead a nomadic life for many years through small towns in California and Arizona.  When the bill collectors or the police got too close, they did a middle of the night skedaddle, as Rex Walls called it.  Eventually the family came back to Welch, West Virginia where Rex had been raised and couldn't wait to escape.  But with all his options depleted, it seemed like the only place left for the family to go.

This time I listened to the book as read by the author.  At first I didn't like the sound of her voice, the pace of the reading.  It felt like I was listening to a child.  As the story went on, I finally got it.  As she grew up, the words grew with her and the storytelling also matured.  Brilliant.

The Glass Castle is amazing because it's so hard to imagine the lives of these children as controlled by their self absorbed parents.  The children suffered without food to eat, clothes to wear, or a roof over their heads most of the time.  Neither parent could hold a job and what little money they did scrape up went toward alcohol or paint supplies.  I found myself screaming at these parents.  And at other times I laughed out loud at them.

What I found most interesting is the fortitude of Jeannette and her siblings.  They worked and worked hard to save enough money to get out of Welch.  They knew the value of a good job and a steady income, both things that their parents couldn't teach them.  And yet they figured it out all on their own.  Children are a product of their environment, but it takes a village to raise and educate them.

If you are feeling sorry for yourself, think you aren't getting enough out of life, read The Glass Castle.   It will raise you out of the doldrums and show you what is possible in your life.

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