Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Genre: memoir
FTC Disclosure: bought from Dragons and Fairytales
Published: 2006
Pages: 288
Content: Violence and language

Summary: Jeannette Walls puts all her childhood memories into a book and explores the good and the bad of growing up with crazy, crazy-smart, and crazy-negligent parents.

Review: Jeannette describes her crazy, poverty-stricken childhood. Her parents were definitely off their rockers and were pretty much horrible parents. Her mother hardly seemed to care whether they were there or not and pretty much left them to raise themselves. Her father was overly paranoid, an alcoholic, and put his kids in a lot of dangerous situations.

She starts off when she was three and was making herself a hotdog over the stove and her dress caught on fire and she received third degree burns. She writes from an unemotional distance. It's like she was separating herself from the traumatic events of her childhood. I thought this was a little off-putting and one in which I couldn't quite connect with her or her family. She does put a few quotes in or lessons she learned after the crazy stuff but not much...in the end it just was done. I expect a memoir to be a bit on the uplifting side and this one just didn't pack the emotional oomph I was looking for.

The kids turned out OK, but I'm not sure what she was trying to tell us about her story. "Look how crazy my family was and how I turned out???" Maybe she just wanted it told and that was that. I don't know, maybe I was expecting too much from this one.

But overall, it was a fascinating and yet horrible story. It was like a train wreck...you just couldn't look away.

Rating: 3/5 stars 

Other covers:

I like the car jumper! It definitely pops the story for me.


  1. I wasn't interested in reading this, but our book club is reading in April her last book Half Broke Horses about Jeannette Walls grandmother. It is amazing that the author "turned out."

  2. Sounds interesting, but I agree about wanting memoirs to be uplifting.

  3. I felt the same way about the ending of this one. I don't suppose there was a better way to end it. Maybe sooner? After all, once the kids all escaped, even though the parents followed them, the story about the kids kind of ended and the parents descent took over.

  4. I agree that the ending was a little sudden, but otherwise I loved this one. I guess I didn't really feel the emotional distance that you did. I couldn't relate to her story, but the way she told it drew me in completely.
    Sorry it didn't work for you.

  5. Stacy, I still liked it...I was just expecting more of an emotional impact. I guess I wanted a different ending? Don't know! But it's still worth the read.


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