The Glass Castle The Glass Castle discussion


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message 1: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah Hey everyone! Just want to let you know that there is a discussion on this book here, and anyone is welcome to join!

If your group isn't discussing this, but you're looking for a place to share your thoughts, please feel free to post there.


message 2: by Tibby (new)

Tibby I read this book because I was intrigued by the title, and I though it was thoroughly depressing. I suppose its redeeming factor was its brutal honesty. Also, it did sometimes surprise me, which was nice. I am actually glad to share my thoughts here b/c the father ROYALLY frustrated me, and the author should really consider taking the word "Castle" right out of the title. Just kidding. That was clever I suppose. I probably had this reaction because I usually prefer books with pink covers, so it serves me right. ;)


message 3: by Jen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jen Both of the parents infuriated me as well. But I was torn between being frustrated with them and trying to have sympathy for them -- were they really chemically imbalanced or just plain weird? I don't know if I find the book depressing, because Walls finds success for herself. In a fantasy land, they ALL would have lived happily ever after, but that just can't be. I loved this book.


Sofia I think this was a fabulous book and I think Jeannette Walls is amazing for having lived through this and becoming a great success. It's the perfect example of rising above an awful upbringing, and not letting your parents lack of guidance have a lifetime effect over you.
Even though it was awful reading about the things she endured, she is wonderful, and I really enjoyed learning about her.


Kerry This was definitely a tough book to read but I found it uplifting overall because there are so many children who face many adversities to get through childhood. I commend Ms. Walls for sharing her story.


Nikki I am a family therapist - and apparently have skewed views about tough childhoods - I actually loved this book for how positively she portrayed her parents. That she could love them and forgive them despite their many faults was so reassuring to me. It wasn't tough for me to read. It was actually uplifting for me.


Marta Even though Walls's parents were flawed and they raised their children far from the norm, I feel like they gave their kids a wealth of expriences that enriched and encoraged a love for live and that is why Walls's has been so sucessful.


message 8: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy This memoir was a page turner. I loved this book.


Theresa I LOVED this book! I could relate to having a chaotic and dysfunctional childhood (although not quite to that degree). The mother frustrated me terribly in this book. Yes, both parents taught them a lot about a lot of things and about life, but my goodness, what craziness! When I read about the property and the ring I just wanted to THROW something! I so commend Jeanette Walls for breaking free and becoming educated and successful in her life. AND for being able to speak of her parents with love and tolerance.


message 10: by Kristan (last edited Aug 21, 2008 07:31AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristan This book showed me that no matter how broken our family may be, we are always connected to them. We can run and hide and pretend they don't exist and establish other lives that don't resemble theirs, but we can't erase the bond of kinship that can never be severed.


Jeaneane I really loved this book. It proves that children really do love their parents-whatever they put them through or how they live. I felt that it was inspirational that Jeannette was able to chose to pull herself out of that kind of life.


message 12: by Rosemary (new) - added it

Rosemary OMG I CAN'T WAIT TO READ THIS BOOK....EVEN MORE SO NOW AFTER ALL YOU GUYS HAVE SHARED !!


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

I read (most of) this book a couple of summers ago and was about halfway through and discovered that I didn't believe it. Some of it was probably true, but all of it? Improbable. I almost made it to the end... but couldn't. take. it.


message 14: by drew (new)

drew LOVeD


Jeaneane I read this book probably 5 years ago and was totally amazed by it. It didn't occur to me that it wouldn't be true. I have found that there are many different kinds of people in this world and they don't all do things that make sense. This story is a major example of that. I liked it.


message 16: by Lenin (new) - added it

Lenin I must have a pretty dark sense of humour because I found it HILLARIOUS all the way. Is it just me?


Jennifer Webb Richards Didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It was an amazing read, couldn't put it down!


Patrice Shari Blue wrote: "I read (most of) this book a couple of summers ago and was about halfway through and discovered that I didn't believe it. Some of it was probably true, but all of it? Improbable. I almost made it t..."


I had the same reaction! I just naturally accepted her story as true and then, there came a point where I realized that she could be making the whole thing or any part of it up. I had the same feeling with Angela's Ashes. How do we know how much is true?


Cindy I loved every bit of this book and was completely emotionally invested the entire time. I want to believe it's all true. However, even if it's not, it's an amazingly fantastic work. Either way, I feel Jeanette Walls deserves monuments of praise.


Deborah Amazing Book about to read the next one which is based on her mothers life an why she became the way she was......


Jeannette Katzir She is one of my favorite authors. Amazing book!


message 22: by Deborah (last edited Sep 16, 2011 04:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Deborah So mad at the parents-kept tossing book aside in disgust, then grabbing it back up again. Only kept reading because i loved Half Broke Horses-but made the Glass Castle harder to read for me because I already knew what a great life the mom had been raised on and there was no explanation for why she was the way she was. I was like "Get out of bed! You're better than this"


Allison Haven't read the book about the mothers life yet, but it doesn't matter how she was raised, there is definately something wrong with her. I'm not saying he wasn't a wack job, but she should have had the guts to leave, the fact that she didn't goes back to my first assertion. She's crazy'


message 24: by Kim (new) - added it

Kim Sheets I found this book to be fairly implausible. I cannot put my finger on why, but I also read "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt, and never once questioned his facts. Yet, I just could not wrap my head around some of the scenes in this book, especially the gunfight between her and her siblings and the boy who tried to rape her. I did, however, just hear her speak at the University of Akron, and she does seeem sincere, so maybe the story is true. Seeing her in person changed my mind about what I felt was a not wholly true story. Any others who feel this way?


Susan Bright One of our book club favorites. I will never forget the beginning of this book when Jeanette Walls, while riding in a taxi sees her mother rummaging through a dumpster. I was hooked from page 1!
www.Fridaymorningbookclub.com


Lee Ann Kim wrote: "I found this book to be fairly implausible. I cannot put my finger on why, but I also read "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt, and never once questioned his facts. Yet, I just could not wrap my head..."

There were many in my book club who had the same feeling. No specific information about where things happened, nothing that could be checked or verified. Our group had very mixed reviews on this book. But it was definitely not the favorite of the booiks we did.


message 27: by Melissa (last edited Oct 31, 2011 06:14AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Melissa Hi Susan!

I also loved the Glass Castle! Have you ever considered reading "Breaking Night"? It was absolutely outstanding - a similar autobiography, but even more powerful.

I hope you are doing well,
xoxoxox,
Melissa (Lauren's friend)


Susan Bright Hi Melissa,
I will definitely check out Breaking Night!


message 29: by Deb (new) - rated it 5 stars

Deb I totally loved this book. Also, Half Broke Horses is awesome too...highly recommended!


message 30: by Deb (new) - rated it 5 stars

Deb I think I will also check out Breaking Night.


Beatrice I found this book fascinating and "Half Broke Horses" is just as good.


MaryKay I have to point out that The Glass Castle is one of the books being distributed on World Book Night (April 23, 2012).

http://www.goodreads.com/book_news_po...


Claudette Cindy wrote: "I loved every bit of this book and was completely emotionally invested the entire time. I want to believe it's all true. However, even if it's not, it's an amazingly fantastic work. Either way, ..."

I think most memoirs have to have a bit of fiction in them to make them more readable, thus sellable. When James Frey invented or usurped some scenes for A Million Little Pieces, he was practically burned at the stake for it, but really, I believe most memoirs take some literary license, otherwise they would mostly be staid and dry.


Claudette Beatrice wrote: "I found this book fascinating and "Half Broke Horses" is just as good."

While I really enjoyed this book, I found Half Broke Horses not nearly as good. Throughout Horses, I felt I was reading a collection of urban legend stories that had filtered down through being told and retold, and so exaggerated that they hardly made sense in some places. I also had trouble getting a handle on Lily. Was she a strong pioneering woman or a mean-spirited bully? In any event, she was certainly hard to like!


Glenna My word for this book was "amazing". Amazed that the children survived their raising, that the mother was content with her lifestyle and amazed at how well read the father was. I had a love-hate relationship with the parents. An extremely talented mother and a drunken father with a brilliant mind. Just imagine how many more children are out there living like this!


Anthony Caplan One of my favorites. There's no way i couldn't fall in love with the narrator and her siblings and the love they felt for their flawed, larger than life family. What an amazing story, I agree. It rang true for me. Totally plausible, even the rags to riches scenario with the homeless parents in NYC. See Nick Flynn's "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City." Great movie also.


Judith Won't repeat other's comments but I too had a range of feelings about the book. Isn't it interesting how at some point in life there is an inversion and the child is more the caretaker -- in this case it was early on. Read this when it first came out and have heard the author interviewed and find her plausible. Reminded me of Mary Karr and The Liar's Club. In both cases I think successful survival is due partly because these were very intelligent kids.


Sarah I read this for my Women in Lit class in school. It deffantly brought up many emotions that I didin't think I could have towards parents, and I work in child care. It was a great book, and brava for being able to tell what really happened.


message 39: by Matt (new) - rated it 4 stars

Matt this book made me start drinking again. my goldfish, Lucy, left me.


message 40: by Matt (new) - rated it 4 stars

Matt Matthew wrote: "this book made me start drinking again. my goldfish, Lucy, left me."

What an idiot! Write something relevant to the book. Matt, here's what I thought:

This book was terrible and incredible. I wish I hadn't read it but I'm glad I did. It carried weight and redemption but I believe a cynical point can be made for it being more of a capitalization on tragedy. Yes, she is better for her hideous past, but are memoirs like these exploitative for cash and embellishments, or is there really a reason worth reading this for the betterment of reader's lives. I think, while well-written and superbly unfortunate at parts given of her life, this story is so incredible that it's almost unbeliveable. Anyone can compare thier lives to hers and say: "damn. my life wasn't so bad, i guess."

in the end, there wasn't enough light at the end of the tunnel for me to call this book a "must read." it's too sad and I don't think without a reading group reading it with you can you take away enough from it post-discussion to make it worth the delve into the deep abyss of her shit.


Laurie Are we synical to say that if an author makes good money for telling their story that puts them in a category of a seeking cash?
I learned from this book and Mary Karr's memoirs that I could overcome my tough childhood "stuff" and be successful. I'm encouraged that my desire to make a living off the written word is honorable. What I write won't make my family and friends jump on the recovery bandwagon with me and/or leave denial behind. But like Wall's book, it will change people who don't even know me personally.
Sceptics will always question, is what Wall's wrote true. If 70% of it's true, my God it's still quite a story. Those who haven't experienced misery to her level may say, ah, she made that up.Those who have, say, she has guts to put it down.
I always find it interesting when those who don't want to learn the lesson seek to discredit the teacher somehow.
http://LLL.opera.wordpress.com


message 42: by Joclyn (last edited Jun 06, 2012 09:57PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joclyn It's been a while sense I've read "Glass Castle & Half Broke Horses", I read Horses first which gave some insight as to the kind of people Mary and Rex were. I agree whole heartedly with Laurie, there are so many credible stories and resilient people out there, I guess what I mean say is reality is stranger then fiction and more interesting. I will also check out "Breaking Night" and would like to suggest a memoir, "Three Weeks with My Brother" ~Nicholas and Micah Sparks...


Chrissy i just finished this book and cant wait to read half broke horses...i really would like some insight on how the mother was raised. i was so frustrated and angry with the parents, i dont know how the kids turned out as well as they have. i would be interested to know how the youngest child is doing. it seemed that she was on the same self destructive path that the parents were on


Jennifer Lenin wrote: "I must have a pretty dark sense of humour because I found it HILLARIOUS all the way. Is it just me?"

i laughed at some parts too.


Jennifer Joclyn wrote: "It's been a while sense I've read "Glass Castle & Half Broke Horses", I read Horses first which gave some insight as to the kind of people Mary and Rex were. I agree whole heartedly with Laurie, th..."

another good book where the author overcomes a lot of adversity is called: Overlay by Marlayna Glenn Brown


message 46: by Pam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pam Dunn The parents didn't really disgust me that much. At times I thought they were brillant, and at times I thought they were very ill. Truth is they were probably a little bit of both. There were touches of their charachter in many of my own relatives. One things for sure--they raised children that knew how to take care of themselves and have compassion for other people. Loved the book. I read Half Broke Horses after the Glass Castle and loved that as well. We all have a story. . .


message 47: by Pam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pam Dunn Laurie wrote: "Are we synical to say that if an author makes good money for telling their story that puts them in a category of a seeking cash?
I learned from this book and Mary Karr's memoirs that I could overc..."


Agreed


message 48: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Gross Patrice wrote: "Shari Blue wrote: "I read (most of) this book a couple of summers ago and was about halfway through and discovered that I didn't believe it. Some of it was probably true, but all of it? Improbable...."

I felt the same way! I loved her writing style, and truly thought she really was gifted at describing her upbringing, but I wondered how much was embellished, and by how much. I have a really hard time believing that children's protective services weren't more involved with this family (after the fire, the years without school lunches, the ratty clothing and poor housing) and that she was emotionally equipped enough to escape it. Intelligence does protect at risk children, but by this much? Would you have the strength to watch your obviously mentally ill mother rumage through dumpsters and just turn your head away? Walls really tries to have us beleive this was her mother's choice, but throughout the book she often describes her mother's behaviour as bizzare, non-sensical, irrational and disorganized....these are all tell-tale signs of serous mental health issues...


Christine There were parts that seemed made up to "add" to the story.


message 50: by Pat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pat I am amazed that the children survived through the (okay I am admitting that I am judgmental) immature and selfish actions of the parents. Recalling some parts- the ham? OMG....and she lived to tell the story? And you know what else? I don't think I ever want to live in West Virginia, if that is what people are like. No matter how beautiful the scenery is.


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