Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Glass Castle

It's time for Turn the Page Tuesday hosted by Adrienne over at Some of a Kind. I've read several good books this month so it was kind of hard to choose, but The Glass Castle really stuck with me.

'I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a dumpster. It was just after dark. A blustery March wind whipped the steam coming out of the manholes, and people hurried along the sidewalks with their collars turned up. I was stuck in traffic two blocks from the party where I was heading.
Mom stood fifteen feet away. She had tied rags around her shoulders to keep out the spring chill and was picking through the trash while her dog, a black-and-white terrier mix, played at her feet. Mom's gestures were all familiar - the way she tilted her head and thrust out her lower lip when studying items of potential value that she'd hoisted out of the dumpster, the way her eyes widened with childish glee when she found something she liked. Her long hair was streaked with gray, tangled and matted, and her eyes had sunk deep into their sockets, but still she reminded me of the mom she'd been when I was a kid, swan-diving off cliffs and painting in the desert and reading Shakespeare aloud. Her cheekbones were still high and strong, but the skin was parched and ruddy from all those winters and summers exposed to the elements. To the people walking by, she probably looked like any of the thousands of homeless people in New York City.'

The Glass Castle is a memoir written by Jeannette Walls about her strange and dysfunctional, yet somewhat happy childhood. I really enjoyed this book, at times intrigued and other times disgusted by Jeannette's parents. She has written her story through the eyes of herself as a child and is a wonderful story teller. Jeannette's Dad is brilliant, teaching the kids physics and geology while they travel around, never living very long in any one place. I would describe their Mom as a hippie-type, never content to settle in any one place either, hating housework and responsibility, and completely embracing her artistic self. She gives the kids her love of reading, teaches them to paint in the desert and to be creative. She doesn't care if they attend school, it's much more fun and rewarding to wander outside at will all day. Dad has a drinking problem and becomes violent when he drinks. One of Jeannette's earliest memories is of her dad trying to run her mom down with the car late at night in the desert. The kids learn, at an early age, to take care of themselves and each other, that they are really all they've got to lean on. As teenagers, they rise above the poverty they were raised in, bettering their lives as they get older, while their parents choose to become homeless as the kids grow-up.

This is an incredible story, written very well. I'm sure that I'll read this one again someday so it's staying on my shelf.

Head on over to Some of a Kind for more Turn the Page Tuesday reviews. Happy Reading!


Jeni said...

Paula -This does sounds like a really intriguing book. I'll have to remember the title and get a copy of it. I need to get back into reading a bit as my craft stuff has taken over my life!

Adrienne said...

I've read this book - oh my gosh - I kept looking at her picture in the back of the book to see that she really was real - this really did happen but she is OK now. It was overwhelming but inspiring at the same time.

Teresa said...

This was a great book--couldn't put it down until I finished, then had to pass it along to my daughter! It's amazing that she made it all the way to adulthood!

Paige said...

This book has been on my to-read list forever - now I know I've gotta read it this summer for sure!

Stacey's Treasures said...

This sounds like a realy good book.
I just started "Promise the Moon" that I found at Powell Books.

Tipper said...

Paula-I've read it too-and I liked it-even though like you her parents made me fighting mad more than once.

Farm Chick Paula said...

Okay- you've got me hooked! I may have to get on Amazon and order this book now, thanks to you! (LOL)
Good to hear from you again, sweetie- stop by my place anytime and say hello!

Mary said...


This sounds like a book that I would enjoy. I will be sure to check it out at the library.


Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.