The Glass Castle


“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. ‘You’d be destroying what makes it special,’ she said. ‘It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty'”

“‘Don’t worry, God understands,’ Mom said. ‘He knows that your father is a cross we must bear.'”

        Jeannette Walls, with her brilliant and vivid descriptions, shows a perspective of living as a second child in yet another kind of family. She takes the word travelling to another level and what makes this memoir even more poignant is how it is based from real life. Having to constantly escape from chasing bill collectors, the Walls family is forced to live a peripatetic life in the most adverse conditions together. However, doing the ‘skeddadle’ as the father would call the anomalous transfer of place to place was just part of their everyday lives as well as sleeping in open deserts and encountering poisonous snakes and hunting them down. The mother is a self-proclaimed artist who somehow prioritizes developing her aesthetic sense than feeding her children; the father is a peccadillo magnet who turns unpredictable when drunk and is almost always seen using the family’s money for drinking. Growing in an environment where the everyday struggles are concerned with survival, the Walls bunch leaves the readers to wonder again what a family means, and if it may be just more than security, protection and acceptance.

       At one point, I had to take a break from the emotional intensity of the book. It was kind of another journey to stand in the shoes of Jeannette Walls and in almost every chapter, I stopped to look at her photo in the back just to imagine that this woman had actually experienced all of what she had written. It was really one of the rare occasions that I, after completely merging with the main character, could see myself in the story. The wonders that a book is capable of. 


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