Michele's Reviews > The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
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's review
Jun 20, 2007

it was amazing
Read in December, 2006

Like a Phoenix From the Ashes

I have no doubt as to why this book was recommended by to me, given my taste for well-written memoirs and my affinity for books like "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," by Betty Smith and "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt. This completing engrossing tale of Jeannette Walls and her rise from the ashes of an extremely difficult childhood is on a par with both Smith's classic, and McCourt's Pulitzer Prize winning efforts.

"The Glass Castle" starts out on fire. Literally. Within the first few pages, when Walls recounts one of her earliest memories as a burn victim, I fell in love with this child and quickly turned pages awaiting to see how she'd go from being a neglected and abused child to a clearly well-educated, successful author and, according to the book jacket, a regular contributor to MSNBC.com So many of the incidents she brings to life through a vivid and colorful memory left me with my jaw hanging open. I found myself yelling at her parents, a charming alcoholic father, always with a master plan to bring upon riches, and a selfish (seemingly bipolar) mother, focused on her "art" and her need to live life as a constant adventure. "Sometimes you need a little crisis to get your adrenaline flowing and help you realize your potential," said her mother, as she arguably put the words into practice again and again, while her starving children made the best of their impoverished upbringings.

Her utterly non-conventional parents taught their children many things, but mostly, it seems, how to fend for themselves. And from the tone of this book, written with great reverence for not only her brother and two sisters, but also for her mom and dad, she indeed took to heart her mother's advice: "Learn to enjoy the comic episodes." The story of Jeannette Walls and her search for a home is ultimately filled with more smiles than heartaches.

Highly recommend.
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03/19/2016 marked as: read

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Nina McKissock Hi Michele. I just completed my memoir. Would you be willing to be what is called a "beta reader?" I respect the way you observed and critiqued The Glass Castle and I'd be honored if you read mine. It's only 123 pages and it's about my thirteen years as a hospice nurse. Not religious, not fluffy,not spiritual, just accounts of nineteen patients that inspired me to revolutionize the way I lived my life. Thank you and live well, Nina Angela McKissock. nina.mckissock@gmail.com

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