Maria Elmvang's Reviews > The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
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's review
Dec 01, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, 4-stars, owned-audiobook, memoir, non-fiction
Recommended to Maria by: Jennifer

A fascinating book. I knew absolutely nothing about Jeannette Walls before picking up this book, and had actually gotten the impression that it was fiction rather than a memoir.

But despite not knowing who Jeannette Walls is, and therefore not having any expectations whatsoever, I soon found myself deeply caught up in the book. The narrator suited the part well, and Jeannette's life was absolutely fascinating. Granted, her parents' behaviour bordered on child abuse from time to time, but it was obvious to see that it wasn't from any ill intent (unless selfishness counts as ill-intent) and that they really did love each other.

I'm incredibly impressed that so many of the children did so well with their lives with the upbringing they had. Seems very obvious to me that they owed it to their constant effort to stick together and help each other.

I really appreciated a look into this aspect of American living that I'd never known much about before.
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Quotes Maria Liked

Jeannette Walls
“I never believed in Santa Claus. None of us kids did. Mom and Dad refused to let us. They couldn't afford expensive presents and they didn't want us to think we weren't as good as other kids who, on Christmas morning, found all sorts of fancy toys under the tree that were supposedly left by Santa Claus.
Dad had lost his job at the gypsum, and when Christmas came that year, we had no money at all. On Christmas Eve, Dad took each one of us kids out into the desert night one by one.
"Pick out your favorite star", Dad said.
"I like that one!" I said.
Dad grinned, "that's Venus", he said. He explained to me that planets glowed because reflected light was constant and stars twinkled because their light pulsed.
"I like it anyway" I said.
"What the hell," Dad said. "It's Christmas. You can have a planet if you want."
And he gave me Venus.

Venus didn't have any moons or satellites or even a magnetic field, but it did have an atmosphere sort of similar to Earth's, except it was super hot-about 500 degrees or more. "So," Dad said, "when the sun starts to burn out and Earth turns cold, everyone might want to move to Venus to get warm. And they'll have to get permission from your descendants first.
We laughed about all the kids who believed in the Santa myth and got nothing for Christmas but a bunch of cheap plastic toys. "Years from now, when all the junk they got is broken and long forgotten," Dad said, "you'll still have your stars.”
Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle

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