Kate’s review of The Glass Castle > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by bjneary (new)

bjneary I agree there are some people who shouldn't be parents at all!
Also, another dysfunctional family read - Blackbird by Jennifer Lauck
and I see you are going to read A piece of cake, that is great too!

message 2: by MaryLiz (new)

MaryLiz LeBoeuf How funny that you mentioned James Frey. I am 3/4 of the way through the book and was wondering if any of these events had been stretched a bit. The book is making me furious--I find it hard to believe that ANY parents could be that negligent and selfish.

message 3: by Rose (new)

Rose Just watch the news, you hear about children being treated like this more often than you can imagine.

message 4: by Christi (new)

Christi Who are you to say some people shouldn't have kids? They clearly loved their children. They had their own ideas about how to raise them, but so does everyone. Not everyone has a wonderful life and perfect parents, we all make mistakes and we all think "I just want to take care of me" sometimes and I'm sure a lot of people say it. So along with all the hardships they endured, think how much those kids learned. The parents attitude about providing for their kids really disturbed me, but I don't think that is justification to play God and judge who you think is worthy to have kids and who isn't. Also, to some extent I think it is worse to over-indulge your children to the point that they think they are entitled to things. Those parents could be just as guilty as families like the Walls. More than anything this book reminds me that not everyone has a pretty life, lives in a pretty place with pretty people. There is a lot of hardship and overcoming that hardship and making something of yourself is what has made this country awesome. If you don't know how bad things can be, how can you truly appreciate what you have? I know
this is all over the place, but this book just disturbed me so much, yet turned on a light for me, then your comment about who shouldn't be able to gave kids really got me.

message 5: by Sabelmouse (new)

Sabelmouse i'd love to have had their childhood. at least they had love and advebture along with it.
that beats neglect and abuse without it.

message 6: by Bethann (new)

Bethann You know, I think you might be mistaken about Walls parents. Sure they made a lot of mistakes - what parent doesn't - but in the end they raised highly successful children. They didn't have the material things that other people did, but in the end they turned out above average by all standards. It's easy to judge other people's parenting and I do understand where your sentiments are coming from but I don't think Walls would trade her life, her family her upbringing for anything.

message 7: by Rachel (new)

Rachel I have to agree with Bethann. Although the kids lacked the creature comforts in life and were sometimes not in the safest of situations, they were loved by parents who were doing their best from a very unique perspective. I've seen a lot worse from parents in upper middle class "stable" homes.

message 8: by Readingmomma (new)

Readingmomma Thiers no doubt in my mind that the Walls loved their kids but as we all know sometimes love is just not enough. I didn't grow up in the most functional of families and I can relate with Jeanette but today as a mother of four I realize life can throw you some curveballs and even the best of intentions can be compromised but with that said a line needs to be drawn when it comes to such horrible neglect.

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

@Rachel I agree with most of what you said but were her parents really "doing their best"? I think NOT! They had money! (the land) but selfishness on the parent's part (the Dad stealing money from the kids for booze)caused the miserable life they had....that and that alone! Thank God, the kids rose above their horrible cirsumstances.

message 10: by Michelle (last edited Jun 22, 2011 05:33PM) (new)

Michelle I can't believe so many people responded to this reviewer by actually condoning Rose Mary & Rex Walls' behavior! They absolutely did not "love" their children. They didn't even love each other. Both mother & father were completely incapable of love, most especially the mother. At least Rex had the "excuse" of alcoholism. If you love someone, then you don't put yourself before them, you want them to be safe, you want them to be fed.

*They neglected their children to the point of starvation (remember the mother sneakily eating under the blanket while the children went without food for days???).
*They lived in West Virginia and allowed their son to sleep under a leaking roof in the winter and made no effort to move him to a different part of the house.
*They completely disregarded acts of sexual abuse on multiple occasions.

I could go on and on, but these 3 basic examples cannot be dismissed. Abuse and neglect are not acts of love. Their behavior wasn't some new age, outside-the-box-of-convention way of parenting. Those examples aren't considered giving in to creature comforts or over-indulgence (as has been referenced in a few responses here). Just because Rose Mary "said" that it was, doesn't make it so. She "rationalized" the death of her infant daughter was God taking her back (like getting a refund) because she wasn't perfect. I think the woman thought no more of her children than she did of the cat Rex threw out the car window, and when they were old enough they were simply something to be used.

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Amen Michelle!

message 12: by Amanda (new)

Amanda I totally agree, this book made me angry a lot of times.

message 13: by Kate (new)

Kate Michelle, thanks for backing me up! I can't believe how many notifications I get about this book and how many mean, condescending comments I've gotten. You put into words perfectly what I was trying to say. :-)

message 14: by Laura (new)

Laura Good review. Walls' parents were deeply damaged and damaging people.

message 15: by shel (new)

shel b I fully agree with Michelle. I also don't feel that the parents raised the kids. the kids raised themselves and eachother. they made themselves successful.

message 16: by Anne (new)

Anne Simonot So true that the kids raised each other! This book reminded me a lot of my ex-husband's family life. And it's not a pretty way to grow up.

message 17: by Julie (new)

Julie Hansen It is frustrating to try and comprehend the mother's behavior. I think it is clear, however, that while her father suffered from addiction, the mother suffered from mental illness.

message 18: by Jessica (new)

Jessica I'm only a little ways into this book so far but I already find it amazing how the parents justify their negligence and seem to believe it.

"We had no pillows but Dad said that was part of the plan. He was teaching us to have good posture. The Indians didn't use pillows either, and look how straight they stood!"

I'm flabbergasted that some comments are justifying their actions the same way.

message 19: by Vintageyvita (new)

Vintageyvita To add to the horrors, food that is rancid can kill people. So, that alone is neglect. And, do you really think that these parents would take their kids to a hospital if they were really ill with something. Neglect.

message 20: by Deanna Annaed (new)

Deanna Annaed Or when they handed the newborn Maureen to six year old Jeannette and locked them all in the back of the uhaul. I wondered many times if the mother had some sort of mental instability.

message 21: by Chrisolu (new)

Chrisolu Loved the review and the comments even more.

message 22: by Kellie (new)

Kellie It appears some of the people commenting skipped some sections. Did they all miss the numerous times the kids were assaulted, both physically and sexually? And the parents KNEW about it! And did nothing. That alone qualifies them as bad parents. Added to the starvation, the terrible living conditions, stealing, and selfishness, these are two codependent individuals who aren't suitable to own an animal, let alone have a child.

message 23: by Cecilia (new)

Cecilia Man I am so happy about what you said, Michelle.
The last straw for me was when Jeannette got sexually assaulted by a man who had wandered into their house because they left the doors and windows open AND REX AND ROSE MARY DISREGARDED THAT COMPLETELY.
To me, that is completely unforgivable.
I wouldn't call their family life dysfunctional or unconventional : it was neglecting and abusive.
Their parents absolutely did NOT do their best. They did not offer them a wonderful childhood of adventure and self-sufficiency and rewarding experiences. You can't just ignore the horrible things they put their kids through and just remember the good things.
Love isn't enough.

message 24: by Alexis (new)

Alexis I absolutely agree with you on this. :) There's a lot of kids out in the world with no parents to feed them or care about them. My question is, why do parents make stupid decisions? If you're not ready to have kids why do you bring them to earth?? Why??

message 25: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra You wrote: "why can people who have absolutely no business having kids be able to have four?" They actually had FIVE. On page 27, the author writes that her parents had a second daughter a year after Lori was born. She was named Mary Charlene and she died one night when she was nine months old. "Crib death, Mom always said." Hmmmmm. Makes you glad that nowadays the authorities investigate crib deaths very thoroughly.

message 26: by Kate (new)

Kate Oh my gosh, Alexandra! You're absolutely right. :(

Jeez Louise.

message 27: by Christiane (new)

Christiane Kate, you asked "why can people who have absolutely no business having kids be able to have four?" Do you see now why? =) As Michelle put it: "I can't believe so many people responded to this reviewer by actually condoning Rose Mary & Rex Walls' behavior!" Certainly, everyone has a different idea of precisely what "love" means, and parents have widely differing ideas of what "good" parenting is, but there are apparently still many people who sympathize with or otherwise condone parenting that you would not, and so I expect there will continue to be people who have kids only to neglect and abuse them while onlookers do nothing.

There seems to be such a huge difference between a difficult upbringing and an abusive one that I wish I knew precisely where the line is that justifies separating parents and children and siblings "for their own good."

I guess my own answer to your "Why??" is that 1) we probably shouldn't pre-emptively decide who can and can't make babies, 2) we probably shouldn't sterilize a parent/couple who shows themselves to be less than ideal with their first child, and 3) we probably shouldn't be quick to remove children from their parents and siblings. I certainly (and most unfortunately) can't say with any confidence that Ms. Walls would have been better off in a (series of) foster family(s). I sympathize with your frustration but can't allow myself to share your opinion publicly. The best I can do is control my own procreation and parenting (so far, by NOT) and do my best to support and enrich the children in my sphere of influence.

message 28: by Kate (new)

Kate Christine, those are excellent points. And by no means am I saying the government should sterilize or regulate how many kids people can have. In the years since I've written this review, I've seen people in my life get pregnant for the wrong reasons (keep a relationship together, the chance to be the center of attention for awhile), while others have lost kids or are unable to get pregnant. Cosmically, it just seems so unfair, you know?

message 29: by Christiane (last edited Jul 20, 2014 08:37PM) (new)

Christiane To that, I totally agree! =D

message 30: by Angela (new)

Angela I have not read this book so maybe I have no right to comment but reading through others' comments there are a couple of things I wanted to say. First of all, love is putting others before yourself. We don't always do that perfectly but love means we try again. We apologize, we start over, we give up what we want to serve God and ultimately to serve others. From the comments it doesn't sound like these parents did that so I would have to agree that they did not love their children. Secondly, I disagree with the statement that some people have no business having kids. Anyone who is mentally competent has the right to personal freedom which includes having kids. HOWEVER, this does not mean they have the right to neglect or mistreat them. There are laws for that. The parents should be held accountable by others if they are abusive or neglectful. I know there are situations that sometimes go unobserved and that is sad. Each of us has a right to our choices. Whether they are good or bad. But if they are bad there should be consequences.

message 31: by Lexi Romero (new)

Lexi Romero Is anyone else bothered by the sexual abuse that her mother passed off?! She didn't love her children, she wasn't in her right mind to know how to love. Her father was clearly a narcissistic alcoholic, who also didn't act as if he lived his children.

I can absolutely judge their parenting. Abuse is abuse, sexual physical and mental abuse. I am surprised these kids grew to be rather successful people. Seems all the family genes were stacked against them and their lowlife parents.

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