52 Book Series. Week 6. “The Glass Castle.” Jeannette Walls

by adidok

This book stays. I couldn’t put it down until I was done. It’s a different type of story entirely.

I got The Glass Castle in Value Village (a favorite when it comes to price. You can’t beat $0.99 for a best seller.) My “filter” at Value Village is that the book has to be some sort of best seller. The New York Times knows their stuff. This is one of those books. And to be honest, I got it because of its cover.

The book is a memoir which will blow your mind. Not with anything extraordinary, but rather with how the situation we are in can seem totally normal to us if we’ve never seen anything else. The author grew up in a dysfunctional family, with a father who dreamed all his life of building a glass castle, in the meantime failing to provide for his family. The author talks about things like petting a leopard at the zoo, burning herself while cooking a hot dog at the age of 3 and then running off from the hospital, and living in a house with no utilities connected.

While the depiction of life is shocking, what is even more shocking is the strong family connection that exists through it all. It takes a while for the kids to realize that they need to get out. The parents, on the other hand, are happy with the lifestyle that they chose, and although rocky and violent, stay in their marriage and in love up until the day the father dies, even though their last days are spent as bums on the streets of New York by choice.

The book is psychological, emotional, and vivid. To me it was fascinating to see how the childhood of a person can have such an impact on when they are an adult. I connected to the book not because my childhood was similar, but because it painted a scenario of how life would have been have I married not my husband, but someone else. And boy was I glad that was not the case! Of course the other part of me connected to the author moving to New York with nothing but money for the bus, and thinking that the city was great because it had an abundance of jobs where she could get a regular paycheck and keep all of the money that she earned because the father now couldn’t take it. The job she was excited about was in a fast-food restaurant, which reminded me once again that the circumstances we are in are all about perspective, and while someone may feel sorry for themselves for wiping tables, other think it’s a blessing beyond belief.

The book gave me a newfound appreciation for my own life, including my family, my job, my friends, and my apartment.