Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Glass Castle

My book club just read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I loved it. It was a little depressing and heart wrenching, but I thought it was a beautifully written story about the child of an alcoholic and the way she was able to overcome all obstacles and be successful despite her difficult childhood. It was brought up during the discussion in book club whether or not the things she wrote about were true- it was written as a memoir. It was decided that because it was a memoir, it was how Jeannette remembered the events of her life, someone else may have remembered them differently. Also, none of her memories were much of a surprise to me. I have worked with families very similar to this. Alcoholism is one of the most horrible diseases to have and infects everyone in contact with the diseased person. There is no stopping it, unless the drinking stops and even then- the damage is done.

My mother is a child of two alcoholics and although her childhood was not as severely traumatic as Jeannette's, she experienced very similar things with her parents and their addiction. Kids learn to parent themselves and their siblings- most of the time it's because they have to in order to survive.

This book is an easy read, but also enjoyable to read. Jeannette does a wonderful job of writing from her perspective of every age and stage in life and how that perspective changes as she grows up. I think the main thing I took away from this book, was that love is the most powerful of feelings and choices. You can't change a person, but you can always love them.


caroline said...

one of my favorite books!

Dainon. said...

Thank you.

I love how the author never appears to judge her folks in the re-telling of the events (when she could very well have). Like 'em or hate 'em, they each had their strengths in raising their family in a very, very unconventional way.

Also, for those afraid of nonfiction, try this one on for size ... you just may be converted to this way of reading (though few books in the memoir world are even close to being this good).