The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Okay, yes, I admit it, I have been on a binge of memoirs, autobiographies or just any book that tells a true story. However, The Glass Castle has recently been ranked within my top favorite books.Everyone has a past. Some are ashamed by their’s and others are more accepting. For Jeannette Walls, growing up wasn’t easy, but coming to terms with her past, and most importantly family, was probably a much greater struggle.The Glass Castle begins in the desert of Arizona with Jeannette on fire. She was burned fixing herself dinner at the age of three. After returning from the hospital, we meet the rest of the Walls’: bother Brian, sisters Lori and Maureen and parents Mary Rose and Rex Walls. Jeannette on fire is only the beginning of this whirlwind story. The Walls family is one to be remembered. Mary Rose, the mother, is an artist struggling with finding her “big break”. Rex is an entrepreneur, working odd jobs. Obviously products of the “hippie” genre, Mary Rose and Rex always had the family on the move; packing up the green station wagon with only their bare essentials and moving along until the next small town came into view. However, moving was not without adventures. While in transition, the children spent majority of their time exploring, playing games with each other and sleeping under the star-covered desert sky. Unlike many children, Jeannette and her siblings were not bound by rules and curfews. Instead they were taught to be tough, stand their own, but to have fun, of course.Eventually, when times started to get rough, the family ended up in Welch, WV, the home of Rex’s parents. This small, mining community was far different from the desert lifestyle the children were accustomed. Jeannette and her siblings had to live in the basement of mean, ungrateful Erma, Rex’s mother. That was until the family purchased a house for 1,000. Even though they had their own place, this house was not up to par. There was no working toilet, no insulation, holes in the roof, and porch that was falling down the hill. A good meal was even starting to get hard to find when the Rex’s drinking habits started to take over the family’s income. In addition, Mary Rose had an “awakening” to quit her job as a teacher and focus on her artwork. Need less to say, the children had to learn to fend for themselves.School seemed like the only salvation for Jeannette, but that came with a price too. Because of their lack of money, Jeannette didn’t bathe as often as others and was taunted for her grungy looks. After living in Welch, dealing with a drunken father and an emotionally unstable mother for many years, Jeannette, Lori, Maureen and Brian began to plot their escape to New York City. Did they make it? It is amazing to read what Jeannette and her siblings had to go through, even as a child, when times are suppost to be the most simple. The Glass Castle also teaches the readers not to be ashamed of their past and to embrace opportunities given.Told with no remorse or grief, The Glass Castle is a heartbreaking, yet inspiring, story that captures the reader.If you have read and enjoyed Running with Scissors by Augustine Burroughs or Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, I recommend adding The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. to your reading list.