This is probably one of the most difficult and controversial books I have had to evaluate so far. The memoir is captivating, but not because it is filled of stories of the beautiful and innocent childhood, the everlasting love of parents and the successful career. Rather, I found myself exasperated by the irresponsible gambling, drinking and basically ‘not-doing-anything’ of the parents, I cringed, baffled, as I found the next page talking about how the father would, unscrupulously, bascially sell his daughter to what I can only consider prostitution, and I fumed as I watched the secret piggy bank smashed on the floor with all the children’s savings gone.
Indeed, how does one evaluate all this, how does one evaluate one’s life?
I don’t know which was more disturbing – that parents could act so irresponsible towards their FOUR children, that one could live in such wretched conditions, that children could make it on their own in such situation, or that, most of all, children could still love their parents after all this.
And then, after all the sighs and the mental ‘aaaaaaarghs’ I had to get out of my system, you turn yet another page and here he is, the father giving out a thousand dollar for the daughter’s tuition in a bag full of 10s and 20s, that he gathered through poker, here they are, gathered for Christmas, sharing their stories, their life; the family that they are.
The Glass Castle may have never been built, and perhaps it was never meant to be built after all. Still, it’s what kept this family going and moving (even litterally). It’s their story.
“Anyone interesting has a story to tell” – and if Jeannette Walls isn’t, then I don’t know who is.