Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

I couldn't put this book down but it was a bit like watching a train wreck from which you can’t look away! It traces the strange story of a family of six that moves around the country aimlessly while the persistently jobless, alcoholic father promises them a great future in a fabulous house that he will one day build.

He 'skedaddles' every time they have unpaid bills or a brush with the authorities, and they often wind up sleeping in the car or on the ground or in shelters scrounged from whatever is available - but the family continues to love and believe in him. Both parents are highly intelligent and encourage inquiring minds in the children and independence to the point of endangering them. Until the children get older and begin to question their life style, they maintain unquestioning loyalty and love for these two eccentrics.

The author seems to keep an emotional distance in her account - especially when she recounts her father’s attempt to set her up as a sexual decoy for his bar room gambling when she was a teenager. Her reaction was not shock or anger but rather… annoyance. In the beginning of the book, the author states that it was her husband who convinced her that she should write the story of her background. My guess is that the only way she could do this was with a certain detachment - by putting space between the remembered facts and the emotions that must have been engendered.

Whatever - she’s tells a wicked good story! You keep reading to see what happens next! I highly recommend it.