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The Glass Castle

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message 1: by Betty (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:38PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Betty This is one of my favorite books! It is so amazing that Walls even lived through this, let alone become a successful jourNALIST. Kudows!

message 2: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:41PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane I agree Betty. My book club read it, and now it is on my Favorites shelf. In spite of the childhood she had, she was able to tell her story in a tasteful manner (unlike Running With Scissors which i found cheap and tasteless and couldn't even get throught it). No matter how "off" her parents were, and in spite of the life they led and the squalor in which they lived, they never deserted their children....this book was unforgettable.

Amanda I too liked the book a lot but I think her parents were a lot more than "off." I think they were pretty despicable; when her father stole her money I wanted to rip his head off. I realize that he's dead, but still found his behavior horrifying.
Walls must be an amazingly resilient person to basically parent herself and go on to become so successful.

message 4: by Denise117 (new)

Denise117 This was a riveting story. Although heartbreaking at first, it illustrates that almost any background can be overcome. She and most of her siblings were able to lead normal lives in spite what was clearly a serverely abnormal upbringing.

Diane Amanda- you're right. I was too kind when I said her parents were 'off'. Not only when he stole her money, but what about when he brought her to the bar? I am amazed by the respect Jeanette has for her parents, given the upbringing. I wonder if I would feel the same.

message 6: by Mandalyn32 (last edited Feb 06, 2008 03:15PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mandalyn32 This book was amazing! I also can't believe that she made it through her childhood alive! She's amazing for overcoming her past. I stayed up all night having to finish it and now I'm sad that it's over!

Wendy Walker great comments. I too could not finish running with scissors but actually put it right into the trash! I can't imagine being strong enough to share these sort of intimate details about myself with the public as author did.

Cindy I read it in one night. I wanted it to end but then again I didn't. Jeanette Walls in an amazingly strong woman to have overcome what she did and to help save her sisters and brother as well. As heartbreaking as parts of the book were, it's always uplifting to read about the resiliance of the human spirit.

Elly Brekke I loaned this book to a friend, who then wrote me an amazing thank-you note. She said the book helped her come to grips with her dysfunctional father, an alcoholic (I had no idea; she doesn't talk about it). She told me she could relate to the daughter, the family struggles, and the love-hate relationship she had with her father, the shame. It is truly amazing that Walls tells her story in such a matter-of-fact voice, which allows the reader to absorb the truth. I was fascinated by this book, and I'm glad it could help a friend face her issues.

Heather This book taught me a lot. You can not change a person - you must accept them for who they are, even it means they put themselves in bad situations. You are not responsible for other peoples actions. I admire Jeanette Walls for writing a book and in doing so, helping a lot of other people with similar hardships.

message 11: by Jackie (new) - added it

Jackie Really enjoyed this book. How brave of Walls to put her life before all of us. And to even say her parents were a little off, but to except them for who they were.

What a life she had. It was so hard to believe how they were able to make it through all of this. Look at how many hardships she had and it made it.

Melissa Amanda,
I couldn't agree more. I was so angry with the parents in this book it almost ruined it for me. It didn't of course because the book is amazing, but I had a lot of "fury" concerning the parents behavior.

message 13: by joy (new) - rated it 5 stars

joy I'm with you there. I seriously think I would have lots of grudges, especially over the money. I really appreciate her motivation to get out and achieve better for herself. That kind of drive and determination, and the brains to know that a better life had to be within reach are really what makes a great story. I
I think she inherently understood all along that this way of life was a choice for her parents and that she had a completely different choice for herself.

message 14: by Theresa (last edited Aug 02, 2008 12:40PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Theresa In response to Diane... Yeah, but in Running With Scissors Augusten's mother DID desert her child. So why should Augusten be tasteful? It's not like anyone could be tasteful writing truthfully about living with a psychiatrist who scoops poop out of the toilet & worships it as signs from God. I personally think Running With Scissors was beautiful & I feel sorry for anyone who can't see that. It's a shame you couldn't get through the book. Augusten Burroughs was very careful to give credit where it was deserved - no matter who messed up that family was, they took him and treated him as one of their own. He never felt like he was an outsider. And while Natalie cursed like a sailor and was very promiscuous she eventually did get into Smith College & on scholarship at that. I just LOVED Running with Scissors - so sorry I went off on a tangent!! = )
I just started reading The Glass Castle & already I'm in love with it.

Diane Hi Theresa - my comment about Running with Scissors not being tasteful had nothing at all to do with his mother deserting him (by the way, I despise his mother for doing so). It was primarily directed at the explicit sex scenes (I did not need to read about his sexual encounters described in such graphic details) nor did I need to read about the poop being scooped out of toilet and analyzed. No need to feel sorry for me, and no need to apologize for going off on a tangent. One of the great things about this site is to discuss books, whether folks agree or disagree; what I really can't stand is when people on this site get nasty if someone doesn't share their same opinion.
To get back on the Glass Castle subject - I'm glad you are loving it. It is quite an amazing story and one that stayed with me.

Anoush Everyone's parents screw them up one way or the other, but this story just makes my parents seem like Gods and angels.

I hated Walls' parents all the way throughout the book and couldn't imagine anyone, any parent to be so... I can't find the word. Ah, here it is: monstrous.
But in the end, I shared her love for them. I did.

It's written so well, that I felt like I was one of the kids and by the end I was so full of conflicting emotions that I cried for them as I would for myself.

message 17: by Kara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kara I think this is a new interesting look at poverty and homelessness.

The parents clearly needed/need mental health care but they weren't interested. They tricked the system because they were smart and in their mind they were doing the right thing but in their mind they were crazy! It was so frustrating to read for this reason.

The part that was so difficult to read was when the girls were begging their mother to go to work so they could buy beans with the few dollars they would have left over after their father took money to buy booze. I just wanted the mother to take care of her children! I wanted to scream and yell at her! And don't even get me started on the father.

I was sad that people don't seek mental health help. It is really not difficult to seek help.

Diane Hi Kara - do you really think the parents thought they NEEDED mental help? I tend to think that they thought they were just fine; and I don't think they even thought that they weren't taking care of their children. Mind you, I'm not giving the parents right AT ALL, don't misunderstand. Just like in the end, Jeanette wanted to give her mother money, set her up in a real home, and the mother wanted none of it. She is perfectly content digging through trash and being the "head of the squatters".

message 19: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim I'm new here. My feelings for this family ran the gamut throughout the book but I ended it feeling angry at the parents, not only for what they put their children through, but for stealing from the truly needy. While they never saw themselves as wanting or accepting charity, they ate at shelters, churches, etc., and took up space in shelters when they had land and jewelry, etc., but didn't want to part with any of it?!?!? How many truly homeless and destitute people couldn't find a bed in a shelter because they got there first?

message 20: by Mark (new)

Mark This story could be about any one of us. It is tragic but actually a triumph for Jeannette Walls to have survived and made it through her childhood. I found this book inspiring because she was able in spite of her upbringing to go on to be a successful writer.

message 21: by Jackie (new) - added it

Jackie HI Kim, I understand your feelings about the parents having something, but taking from the homeless by not using what they have. However, many homeless are in the same boat. They also have help if they want to take it. They have chose not to. It kinda like the homeless that will not go to a shelter. It is the way they wanted to live their life. Not that I thought what they put their children through was correct. And I am sure it was not easy for her to see her parents continue that way. But she understood this way the way they were.

message 22: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Jackie,
I'm sure you're right about many of the homeless choosing to live that way, even though they don't need to. I enjoyed the kept me interested, it entertaining, endearing and heartbreaking more often than not, and I would recommend it to others. But what it really opened my eyes to was how little I know about the homeless community. I had an opinion that they were mostly people who had nowhere to go and nothing else or no one else to turn to. I even understood that there are those who have family that could help but refuse to because of "tough love", which I totally respect. But the idea that they refused to make a sacrifice by selling her diamond ring, selling land that had been in her family, etc., and chose to live on food and shelter that should have gone to the truly needy really, really, burns me. And that is the emotion that stays with me. I feel like she should have to sell her land and make donations to the shelters, or work at the shelters to give back somehow. It's not even the neglect or alcohol abuse that bothers me because I have a completely different feeling about Angelas Ashes. Sorry this is so long.

message 23: by Elly (new) - rated it 4 stars

Elly Brekke Kim, your comment provides deep insight, and I agree. What saddened me most in this book is that no one outside the family stepped in to help Janette or her siblings. Just one teacher, just one police officer, just one medical care giver, just one neighbor, just one friend's parent could have shaped these children's lives for the better. It makes me look inward and ask myself where I can make a difference for others.

MaryLiz LeBoeuf I completely agree, Kim. The selfishness of this woman's parents was beyond infuriating. For being so "brilliant," these parents sure made incredibly stupid decisions over and over and over. I hate to say it, but I was almost skeptical at times because some things didn't add up: the mother taught all of the kids to read by age 4, yet she can't even be bothered to supervise her 3 year old daughter for 5 minutes while she cooks hot dogs? And no one, not one of those teachers in Phoenix who thought the kids were "gifted" stepped in to report this abuse? I don't think this memoir even compares to RWS because these kids would have been better off if their parents HAD abandoned them.

Greer i want to say i hate the mom and dad and i do but the clarity of there mental illness is unmistakable. i loved this book but it was so hard to read purely because its so sad. i think that though the parents were losers (we all know this) the kids handled it so well. they really came together and do the best they could despite the situation. (i am not saying by any means that how there parents rased them was OK.) i am saying that they did a good job rasing themselves and getting through it.

Carol Fears I absolutely loved this book and could hardly put it down, even though it was quite painful to read. For me one of the most painful moments was when the kids found out that their mother had land worth millions, but it had not dawned on her that she could sell part of it so that her children could eat and have a reasonable environment to live in. What this book highlighted was the indomitable will that exists in some people to overcome and even thrive no matter how awful their childhoods have been. Makes me want to spank those spoiled whiners who want to blame everything on their mother and father.

Darlene Jones Couldn't put it down. Darlene Jones - Author

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