August 17, 2012
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Glass Castle is a startling memoir of Jeanette Walls’ unorthodox childhood. She wrote her memoir as if she were the age she was in the time being described. Jeanette’s misadventures are portrayed as exciting and whimsical, when in fact she and her family faced extreme poverty and hunger on almost a daily basis. This style of story telling is sad because it is obvious she tells it this way because that was how her parents explained life to her and her siblings, attempting to trick them into believing their poor parenting was acceptable.
Jeanette’s father was an intelligent yet extremely irresponsible man. Reading his lies and explanations made me mad that a parent would let their children go without life essentials because they would rather spend a night in a bar. I find his character the most irritating because he is portrayed as extremely smart and brimming with potential, but rather than settle down and work his way up in a stable job he wastes the family’s money on selfish desires and imaginary inventions. He has plans to invent a gold-seeking machine, which was his excuse for making the family run to dozens of shanty-towns in the Arizona desert. Once this magical machine, named the Prospector, found gold, he would build the family a beautiful, self-sustaining house made of Glass in the desert; The Glass Castle.
The saddest part in the first section of this book was when Jeanette’s father discovers that his children have no lunches for school because there is no food in the house. He surprises Jeanette and her brother Brian during lunch with a large bag of groceries. He says, “Have I ever let you down?” but as he walks away Brian whispers, “Yes.” Throughout Jeanette’s childhood Brian has always been her playmate and confidant, even though he is younger than her it is obvious that... [continues]
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