The Glass Castle

The Fourth Tuesday Book Club

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This book is the story of Jeanette Walls’ family. The author, her two sisters, and brother grew up in a world that seems unbelievable to most of us, but the events are based on Jeanette Walls’ real life.  It is a warm, funny, and interesting tale about a family that moved from place to place—from Phoenix, Arizona, to a small coal town in West Virginia. The family’s extreme poverty existed because of the parents, who avoided the responsibilities of providing for their children. Both did, however, encourage each child to think and approach life in such a way that they had to deal with their problems. They learned how to survive.

At first, a reader might get the impression that the children were not loved. This was not true. They were deeply loved by their alcoholic father and their artistic mother, who were both more interested in an “adventure” than in providing food, shelter, or clothing for their children. Their weakness and mental illness prevented them from doing what they should have done. The brother and sisters, however, developed a strong sense of responsibility and love for their siblings.

The environment they grew up in, however, is shocking, and the book feels like it must be a fictional account. It is hard to believe that any children could have lived through these horrible conditions and survived. They not only survived, but even thrived as adult members of society.  Their story is definitely worth reading.

Key Ideas from different club members:

A truly dysfunctional family; really good book; a different family life than we know; eye opener; parts of the story are disturbing; inspirational at times; so unbelievable that it cannot be true, but it is.

The Club Members rating of this book:     4

Rating Range: 3 to 4.5

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Filed under Adult Non-Fiction, Biography, Fourth Tuesday Book Club Books, Memoir

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