Holy schmoley, The Glass Castle was total insanity. And by that, I mean that everyone in it was insane. Well, not everyone…actually, yes. I stand by my statement that everyone was insane. Different degrees of insanity, mind you, but insanity was all over the freaking place.
It was the kind of book that I wished were fiction because the fact that children lived through such a situation was painful as it was hypnotizing. I read the entire book in one sitting because there was never an opportunity to put it down. Every time a particular story would end, there was no feeling of relief. Instead, it was more like: Are you freaking kidding me? Which quickly progressed to: She must be fucking kidding. And eventually settled on: Holy fucking fuckballs. (Yes, the multiple fucks are more than appropriate).
Jeannette Walls is an astounding individual as she managed to survive not only an extremely impoverished childhood but also two parents who didn’t seem terribly interested in behaving as traditional parents. They were two very selfish and out-of-touch people who just happened to have children. That said, Ms. Walls manages to evoke just enough sympathy for them that I was able to see them as people and not horrific abusers. And trust me, that was no easy task. In fact, I’d even call it an impossible task, so that’s a testament to Ms. Walls incredible talent.
The Glass Castle was a non-stop ride, and not only because the Walls family drove around a lot. From close-calls with sexual abuse, running out of hospitals to avoid paying the bills, countless bouts of near-starvation and raging alcoholism, it’s a miracle that Ms. Walls survived, let alone had the constitution to write about her life. But that’s the truly wonderful thing about this book. The resolve of Ms. Walls and her siblings to make the most of the shitty cards they were dealt was, at times, almost super-human. And how Ms. Walls was able to write this book and not trash her parents is unbelievably unbelievable.
So, look. This book isn’t a fun read. It’s not a cry-your-eyes-out book either, but more of a read-in-silent-shock kinda deal. I didn’t quite know what I was getting in to (I really need to start reading descriptions of books before I start them) but once I got going, I simply had to finish. If you like memoirs that showcase the tenacity of humanity, then you’ll be all over this one, but I will caution that you may want to throw the book at times, so if you live in a glass house, you may want to read it outside.