The Glass Castle Book Review
Our book club meeting for The Glass Castle
was completely overshadowed by the fact that each one of our participants had a major life announcement. We cracked open a bottle of champagne to toast my birthday and the announcement of my first pregnancy, H- announced her engagement, B- and L- recently accepted new jobs and my sister, a new mother, saw the first tooth on her daughter that very day. We had so much to talk about and toast to before we even got down to the book discussion. But that is, perhaps, the best part of having a book club.
Some of us found The Glass Castle to be disturbing, but a good read nonetheless. I was reading the novel after just having found out I was pregnant. Maybe it was hormones, maybe it was a suddenly overbearing motherly instinct, but the book disturbed me heavily. I became unjustifiably worried that I would end up like the Walls' mother, with absolutely no motherly skills and a fly by night sort of lifestyle. Obviously, my worrying should tell me that I will never lead such a life and I would never be that sort of mother. It just may have been the wrong read for me at that particular time. I ended up emailing one of the book club member's immediately after reading The Glass Castle ranting and raving about how distraught I had just become. Okay, it must have been hormonal.
Even though I found The Glass Castle to be disturbing, I still found it to be a very good read and I would suggest it to everyone. The best part about this book is that Jeanette Walls wrote the novel with her own feelings in mind at that particular time, not with the feelings in mind she had as an adult. Even though she was malnourished and put in dangerous living situations as a child, she still thought her mother and father were the most wonderful parents that could ever walk the earth and she defended them with all her childish might. Most of the book is filled with horrifying details about her youth and the way she grew up, but it was not a book that made you feel sorry for her. She did not try to elicit any sympathy whatsoever. She just told it like it was.
Jeanette Walls grew up to be the exact opposite of her parents. She became a successful writer, became established in her career, was well educated and had a steady home life. She became all of the things she wanted in her parents but never had. It makes you wonder. Their children all turned out normal. Why were the parents such disasters? The father was an alcoholic, which is easily accounted for. But what about the mother? She should have done something, been more proactive, cared more for her children. One of our members asked if we all thought that perhaps she was insane. She must have been. She didn't even care when she found out Jeanette had been nearly molested. Instead she wanted to consider the redeeming qualities of the molester in question. And at the end of the saga, it was found that while her children were sifting through garbage cans for food, she was sitting on a property valued at a million dollars. But she wanted to 'keep it in the family'� rather than feed her family.
I think all of the readers were growing red with rage while the author, Jeanette, kept calm while telling her own life story. She was used to it. How could anyone be used to it, you wonder. Maybe it is a good read for a new mother or a soon to be mother after all. The Glass Castle makes you want to be the best parent ever, and it makes you appreciate the parents you had as a child. My mother was a single mom who raised two girls after losing her husband when I was only four. And she still managed to hold down a great house, keep us clothed with new clothes, and keep food on the table. You can provide for your family, no matter what the circumstances. Some people just choose not to.
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