Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The Glass Castle
Title: The Glass Castle
By: Jeannette Walls
At once heartbreaking and heartening, Walls describes her peripatetic childhood taking on adult responsibilities at an extremely young age because her parents, though physically present, lived mostly in their own worlds. They obviously loved their children but felt no need to parent them in the conventional sense. At the age of three, Jeanette was routinely cooking meals on a gas stove. The family moved from small town to small town often one step ahead of the law and/or the debt collector. Jeanette's mother was an artist and sometime teacher, but when she had a job, her three older children were the ones who kept her organized, wrote lesson plans, and got her off to work each morning. Her father Rex was a charming drunk, inventor, and self made scholar who rarely held a job for more than a few months.
The family finally settled in West Virginia near the paternal grandparents where Jeannette and her older sister and younger brother worked hard in and out of school to support the family and gradually all of them moved on to New York, higher education, and careers.
I listened to the audiobook version of The Glass Castle and highly recommend it, but the library also has regular and large print versions of the book.