The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle is the story of the author’s chaotic childhood.  My husband and I listened to it during a long drive to and from Pennsylvania (we are based in Toronto).  Hearing the author speak candidly of her childhood was a bit like a car wreck, we wanted to turn it off but we were so compelled to hear her unbelievable story that we couldn’t help but listen.

The Walls family of six (Rex, Mary and the four children) live a transient existence with the parents acting not as caregivers but as free spirited adolescences putting their children at risk of physical harm, starvation and uncertainty.  The elusive home ‘the Glass Castle’, which Rex promises to build never comes to fruition and the children are left to sleep on cardboard and fend for themselves, which does help them become incredibly resourceful and motivated for a life of their own.

The final chapters, where we learn about the fate of the children and parents were fascinating, and I was rooting for their success and hoping they’d detach themselves from their parents permanently. As the author read the final sentences, I thought about how we are all just older versions of our childhood selves, and that some of those childhood scars never heal.

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