My Rating: ★★★★★
The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.
The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.
The Glass Castle is truly astonishing—a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.
This book was nothing less than a humbling read. In fact, I might even go as far as saying it went above and beyond. This is one of those books that will put everything in perspective and your views will be more or less changed by the time you turn the very last page. Though I have not read many, I am fond of reading memoirs/autobiographies. Every single one that I have read so far, has changed my life in one way or another.
What I admired most about this book is how Jeannette told her story with such grace. This allowed me to follow through with the story very smoothly and gave me a sense of familiarity; as if I was growing up right alongside her. Jeannette’s story has so many layers that you get to peel off, page by page, until you feel as though you are vulnerable yourself by the end: you realize that this is some people’s reality, and it could have well been yours too. This then leads you to sit and reflect on all the things you may have taken for granted, and the things that you should truly be thankful for.
There was a particular scene in the book where Jeannette’s mother mentioned that she didn’t think Jeannette would make it big out there because her siblings had at least one thing going for them (Lori the smart one, Brian the athletic one and Maureen the pretty one) but Jeannette had nothing other than her hard work. I don’t know about you, but this speaks volumes to me. It goes to show that hard work pays off, sooner or later. Hard work is what will get you to where you need to go. Jeannette was no exception to this. She fought through all of her adversities and came out on top. What is even more impressive is that despite everything that her parents put her and her siblings through, in the end, it isn’t difficult to see that she has more love for her parents than she does grudge. It takes so much more strength to love people who don’t deserve it than to just simply hate them.
When I say that you will not come out the same person once the last page has been turned, I mean it. Jeannette’s story is a life changing one that I will never hesitate to recommend to anyone searching for a humbling read. If you shall only read one memoir in your lifetime, pick this.