Lena's Reviews > The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
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's review
Aug 28, 07

bookshelves: memoir

I was totally captivated by this tale of how a young girl survived a childhood of grinding poverty and neglect brought on by her "free-spirited" parents. The stories Walls tells—from being given the planet Venus by her father one Christmas to her family's frequent, middle-of-the-night escapes from bill collectors—were incredibly compelling, if not always easy to read. While Walls does a good job of highlighting the affection and intellectual support she got from her oddball family, it was my desire to know how she managed to escape the insanity of her circumstances that kept me reading through many moments of pure heartbreak.

What impressed me the most about this book was how the author was able to tell these stories without any trace of self-pity. At first, it bothered me that Walls shared so little of her own feelings about the events she experienced. But as I got further into the book, I realized that this left space for me to react to her parent's egregious behavior with a rage that drew me far more into the story than I might have otherwise chosen to go. I came away from the book inspired by her scrappy determination and ingenuity, and incredibly grateful I didn't grow up having to scrounge for food in the trash.
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