The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing--a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.


It's true what they say: "Childhood is what we spend the rest of our lives trying to get over." Or at least it's partially true. I found myself questioning time and again how anyone who grew up like Jeannette could turn into a functioning, productive adult. The narrative is well written, humorous, and heartbreaking at times. It speaks to the resilience of the human spirit, and the inevitable heartbreak when you finally realize you can't help someone who doesn't want help, no matter how much you love them. It also serves as further evidence that none of us escape our childhoods unscathed. But just like Jeannette, I'm not sure I would give up those scars even if I could. For it is those scars that shape us into the people that we become, for better or for worse. Although, I'd like to think the "better" outweighs the "worst."

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