Book Review: The Glass Castle

Walls presents a haunting memoir, a story that is both sad and hopeful. As a young child Jeannette Walls lives in a strange transitory state, with two utterly unreliable parents, one running from the law (and taxes) and the other blindly following. The life that her nonconformist parents create for their family may be full of “adventure” but it is clear that meeting their children’s basic needs is a constant struggle as they bounce from one no name town to another. The Walls children are often left to fend for themselves, and the realizing that this is a true story makes it even more disturbing. Although as an adult, Jeannette Walls may have a clear view of her parents shortcomings, she is also aware of the biases she held as a girl. We view the world through these eyes, the eyes of a girl who idolizes her alcoholic father, unable to see his flaws even as he stumbles drunkenly in to beat her mother. For this young girl her family is the only constant, and losing this would be more than she could bear. In this way the book is a captivating study of the power of loyalty, family bonds, and the inevitable loss of innocence when a child is forced to reevaluate everything they thought was true.

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