Angela's Reviews > The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
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Nov 21, 07

bookshelves: bookclub, memoir, nonfiction
Read in November, 2007

I guess I have a somewhat different frame of reference than several of the reviewers here. I can relate to many of the lessons she learned, and as such, I never had an issue believing her. These things can and do happen. The system fails children, and addicts (whether they're addicted to alcohol or excitement) will seek their fix above all else. As long as the addiction is in the picture, the person just doesn't exist. Children in alcoholic families eventually become aware of this, and the sooner they "get it" the better for them. In the book, this is nowhere more clearly evidenced than in the case of Walls' youngest sister, who spent the least amount of time in the presence of her parents dysfunction, and yet was finally the most crippled of all the children.

Of course, I admit, I have a firmly-seated belief that the strongest and most creative of personalities are forged in fire; Maureen just didn't get burned enough to see the necessity of making a different life for herself. That, and she was separated from her other siblings by so many years that they took care of her more than they tried to include her in their effort to survive.

I loved this book. Walls' short (but revealing) scenes were detail and character-driven, and there were several times I caught myself chuckling at some absolute absurdity or marveling at an unexpected bit of wisdom from someone who should have been a totally unreliable source.

And I guess that's one of the main things I came away with after reading this book. Wisdom can come from anyone...whether we like them or not. And the trick to surviving is to take those things that make us better and stronger with us, and to leave the rest behind.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy I really think you grasped the most important messages of this book. And love the idea of taking in the good from people in our lives and leaving the bad behind. Accepting them for who they are


Christine Excellent review. and I completely agree with your analysis of the 4th child, suffering the most when she was sheltered the most. the other 3 children relied on each other to cope, she had no one.


Gail Bauder Well, we don't really know what Maureen's experiences were when she was not with the family. She could have been sexually abused by a friends brother, uncle etc. or her personality just couldn't survive the incredible dysfunction caused by the parents. It is amazing to me that only one child brought up in this manner succumbed to mental illness.


Sharon I find it interesting that most people assume our environment and relational influences are the strongest predictors of our future. While they are strongly involved in our future, genetics plays a bigger role than we accept. So, if that is true, why aren't the children just like the parents? The mystery of the ages. Think about your own family and what shaped you. Sometimes it's hard to know if everything we do has been learned or if it just comes "naturally".


Lisa You explained it perfectly. The braces incident had me crying with a belly ache at 1am alone in bed, desperately wanting to share what I had just read......


Peggy McClain-Barr I loved this book so much and her other book called half broke horses.


message 7: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Lee loved this book.


Monica King I loved this book and I have read it several times. I have recommended it to family and friends and bought it a couple of times for them. What I love most about this book is her straightforwardness. I watched her in Oprah, the episode was about being true to yourself not about the book but what stuck in my head the most about that interview was that she said that growing up they never watch TV which made them very creative. Then when I purchased the book I realized that I knew who she was.


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