The Glass Castle

My book review on:

The Glass Castle

Jeannette Walls

Why I wanted to read it

This book has been a best selling memoir for almost 100 weeks. While my writing endeavors have covered but a few short months in comparisons to life-long writers, I find myself drawn to stories about real people writing about real life: memoirs.

Thoughts after reading it

The author, Jeannette Walls, is simply captivating! I smile just thinking about her stories and the life that she has lived. Her expose and writing style is simple, yet so descriptive that I found myself completely absorbed in her world. She defined her upbringing through detailed accounts of happenings and events revolving around her (dysfunctional) family. I say dysfunctional with a grin because we all know exactly what that means, as we most likely hail from one of those ourselves.

Her father was the ambitious entrepreneur who told grand stories about all the amazing things he’d done in life who also happened to have a slight, but not so slight, drinking problem. Dreams of building the Glass Castle, a great house with glass ceilings and thick glass walls and even a glass staircase, for his family, coupled with irrational assumptions about the world, made for a character that you thought may have been mentally ill. Although, his charm and failed attempts to show how much he cared about his family made you like him in a way that your heart swelled with compassion, rooting alongside him for the realization of the Glass Castle.

Her mother had another identity, also with unrealistic expectations about what the world owed her, she spent her time painting and writing and swimming upstream against the social, strict intuitions of the world. Free spirit would define her. Wrapped in her seemingly crazy analytics were jewels of truth. One quote from her mother said, “Life is a drama full of tragedy and comedy. You should learn to enjoy the comic episodes a little more.” This is true. She did offer glimpses of profound perspective and while she seemed to be a product of her ill-choiced life, you like her. You find yourself appreciating her outlook on things even when you realize her choices could have led her down a completely different path, one that she may have loved more.

Read this book. It’s a powerful look at how family dynamics shape us as adults and offers a microscope into your own life, as the willing reader. While you may not be able to relate at every level, the adventure of the Wall’s family life holds powerful lessons that you may have missed somewhere along your own journey.

Our lives are each unique stories in and of themselves, but not for the sole purpose of having lived one. Each of our stories serve as examples and lessons to others, whose stories in turn do the same for us.



– k


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