Book Review: The Glass Castle

Samantha Rosa, Staff Writer

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With the upcoming release of The Glass Castle movie adaption, it’s high time for a review of the novel that inspired it. Since the publication of Jeannette Walls’s memoir in 2005, The Glass Castle has sold over three million copies and been translated into 22 languages.

Walls begins her novel with a scene traveling through New York. As she takes the cab through the hectic city, she sees her mother rooting threw a dumpster, homeless. She shocks her reader from the first page, and pulls us along for the rest of her journey. Eccentric and nonconformist, her father, Rex Walls, and her mother, Rose Mary Walls, drag their children through cross country adventures and haul them from deserts to rural towns to bustling cities. Every time they start to lay down roots, Rex and Rose Mary uproot their children to maintain their wild lifestyle.

While still young, Walls appreciates her parents lack of sedentary lifestyle, but as she grows older she grows weary of their neglect. On days where her mother was painting and her father was drinking (which was all too often), Walls and her siblings had nothing to eat– forced to pick through garbage for food. While her experiences evoke sympathy, she shares her past unflinchingly– it’s clear as Wells unravels the contents of her childhood that she’s not asking for pity, even while her parents blatantly mistreated her.

Walls’s prose is refreshing and honest. She guides her reader through the unique and fascinating story of her upbringing and explores her trek after leaving her parents behind. She paves her way through New York and puts herself through college. She interns and networks. She becomes a successful journalist. By the conclusion, it is clear her parents had a large part in molding her past, but not necessarily her present.

⅘ stars

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Book Review: The Glass Castle