To start with, both parents clearly loved each other and their children. This is already way more than many children get from their families.
Next, all 4 children were given the opportunity to bond with and support their siblings. Again, many children lose their siblings when they are taken into "the system.
They home-schooled their children to such a high level that the children always placed above their age group when they were tested in normal schools. In short, the family was far from completely dysfunctional. Yes, the parents dressed the kids in thrift-store clothing. But nowadays this is recognized as an ecologically sound practice. I think it is very telling that the author's vaunted "first good job" was to write the "society" column: i. Not something I think deserves much praise.
Certainly a valid reaction to her impoverished childhood, but it is a job that reinforces very shallow values. I have many more objections, but would just like to say that this book does a great disservice to the parents. And I will note that one of the most functional siblings did not want her sister to publish this book. Perhaps because she doesn't agree that the parents were so awful and the children were so special?
There is no universal definition of a completely functional family.
Was your childhood perfect, were your parents perfect examples of selfless, omnipotent, emotionally balanced people? If you are a parent, have you never made a selfish decision? Do we not believe alcoholism is a disease, exacerbated by poverty? How much sacrifice do parents owe their children? The mother was a very hard-working, albeit self-taught artist. Should she have had to sacrifice that completely because she had children? We venerate artists like Vincent Van Gogh, who doggedly plugged away at his art without ever earning more than pittance.
Do only "great artists" get applauded for their hard work? How do you know if you are a "great artist" who should keep on working in the face of poverty and anonymity? Is this perhaps a gender issue? Men can be unpaid artists, but if women have children, they can't? A skilfully written memoir of a complicated family with hidden talent, mental deficiency and toughtless neglect on the parents' part. It is a wonder that the children who practically raised themselves, became well functioning adults.
It is written without a trace of self pity. An excellent book for discussion about social, psychological, educational issues. I was thinking about it for weeks after I read it. One of the most readable memoirs of dysfunction I've ever read. Funny, tender, solemn and true. Four children raised, sort of, by a father with a "little bit of a drinking situation" and a Mother who prefers being homeless because "it's an adventure". I am a slow reader and usually need the full borrowing period to finish up a book or two but I knocked this one out in 3 days. Her story gave me a lot to think about.
Along with other such memoirs about escaping deleterious family situationsHillbilly Elegy and Educated are two popular ones right nowI'm fascinated and repulsed by the lunatic father. Despite some genuinely admirable qualities, Rex Walls just can't get past his paranoid and grandiose delusions.
That his daughter Jeanne managed to discover reality and escape the fantasy world of her parents is a testament to the power of her own intelligence, of enlightened reading, and of timely mentorship. This book was extremely well written, backed up by the fact that it is non-fiction, it was incredibly detailed and had little rambling and run-on.
I am impressed the author was able to remember her past so even when she was little. This book really made me feel I was in the moment and it was like the author was taking me into the past to watch her history. The author does a really good job of dividing the timeline among the chapters. I find that it is very difficult for me to feel that she left out any details. This is the kind of thought-provoking book that all of us should read. It makes you think of your own life and how you want to live it.
In the book, the parents seemed to be poor, nomadic, and uneducated, but when you read into the book it becomes apparent that the parents love their children more than anything, but they have their own way of showing it. Some parents may use a materialistic approach to express love to their kids, but this family does not.
Instead, they make tons of sacrifices for their kids and I think that this is the way that families should live their lives. A highly entertaining memoir. I loved reading it. The first half is about the family's life in the west desert areas of the US Nevada, California, and Arizona. The large print version of the book isn't missing anything except the picture of Jeannette's parents on their wedding day, which the regular version of the book includes.
I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. Her parents didn't have much money, but they were smart and talented and resourceful. It's not like the parents intended to neglect or abuse their kids.
They were doing things the way they thought was right.
And despite their poverty and hardships, their kids grew up to be intelligent, strong, hard working, and successful. The kids didn't wallow in self-pity and hopelessness.
They learned from their parents' mistakes and chose to make something of their lives. The mother says about her homelessness in NY: "It's sort of the city's fault. They make it too easy to be homeless. If it was really unbearable, we'd do something different. Because helping them too much just encourages them to stay right where they are and not try to improve their lives at all.
The Glass Castle covers Walls' life through when the book was published. It opens with her earliest memory: catching fire cooking hot dogs for herself at age three. She still has the burns. No one is more aware of the story's amazing nature than Walls herself. In an article penned for Publisher's Weekly around the book's release , the author said she knew what she was in for when writing her life story, as even generally straightforward memoirs are challenged for veracity.
And the Rashomon Effect , where the same event is interpreted differently by people experiencing it, is very real. But Walls' siblings have corroborated her story, arguing not about whether they went hungry and cold during bitter winters like she wrote, but over differing opinions about ways they could've changed their family's lives. Despite her difficult childhood, Walls grew up to become a successful gossip columnist and author.
Rated 4 out of 5 by Saagar from Moving I could not sit through this book. So well written - too many descriptions, that I could not handle it.
Really need to have a strong heart to be able to read this. Rated 4 out of 5 by Emily from Quick Read This book was great! It was a really quick read which made it easy.
It was an eye opener seeing that everyone's life isn't as perfect as it seems, and it made me thankful for the way that I grew up. Rated 5 out of 5 by LlamaLlama from Great book I loved this book a lot. It was a sad read but it goes to show that no matter the circumstances of your life, it's up to YOU to make a difference, and work towards the life you want.