Nicola's Reviews > The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
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's review
Jan 16, 2010

really liked it
Read in January, 2010

Though I preferred "Half Broke Horses," "The Glass Castle" still has some heft to it. The book, like the author's parents, has a charisma that whisks you through it.

Many people have noted that there is no real reflection throughout the book (barring the psychoanalysis of the father and his mother); the kids live through it all; the kids don't bat an eye at their parents' outrages (for some reason, the mother sneaking chocolate under a blanket while the kids are starving still disturbs me). Part of this is craft--the book would lose a lot of momentum if Walls had to stop and rehash her outrage, hurt, disgust, bewilderment, etc. The self-pity/self-self-self-ness would be nauseating. I did get very pissed-off at the parents after awhile, when their offenses accrue and--especially with the alcoholism of the father--repeat. But luckily Walls restores some of their charm at the end.

Though I think style played into Walls decision to censure a lot of her own reactions, I also think that manipulative people tend to sweep you along with them, until much later do you realize you have been swindled along the way--especially emotionally. I think that some of Walls fast-paced, curtailed-emotions prose/style relates to such a relationship, as well as the pace of their lives, driven by the parents' need for constant "adventure." At first, I enjoyed this crazy adventure, but, eventually, like the author, you need to jump ship before it's too late.

An image I really liked: the kids doing pull-ups on the father's arm.

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