Book Review – The Glass Castle

Kavita Parasuraman, Staff Writer

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A family on the move in the fifties. Living a nomadic way of life. These two sentences do not go together in this time. Everyone is busy with their own lives, no space for adventure. Yet the author of this memoir, Jeannette Walls, and her family lived a life none of us could ever imagine for most of her life. Once you pick up this book you will not be able to put it down or stop thinking about it. It brings up questions that you probably have never thought about and for some it might make them envious. No matter how you felt about this book, we can all conclude one thing and that is: This book takes you on a journey, like no other. It brings everyday issues into light and shows how this one family tackled these issues.

The Glass Castle consists of five parts, with each part discussing different events that really affected Jeannette. The first part, in which Jeannette avoids her poor mother, really pulls the reader in because there as so many questions. It is after this part that Jeannette discusses her childhood of always being on the move. It is a family of six moving around the desert area in a broken-down car and in a way living their life. It might not be the most luxurious life but for them they have each other to admire the starry skies. The kids might not have the best schooling but they are as intelligent as any other school-going child. This is one of the reasons the characters must be respected – for being knowledgeable people. A lot of the beginning of the story is seen as a way to unveil the rebellious ways of the Walls family and Jeannette describes the characters in a way that make the readers respect them a lot. Later on in the story, real family issues are introduced, changing the readers’ minds about the characters. The nomadic way soon becomes a settled lifestyle and here many problems arise, which result in unfortunate events.

Of course, knowing the author’s history always makes a book more credible. To start it all off, The Glass Castle is credited with being a #1 New York Times Bestseller and also the winner of the Alex Award. Additionally, the book was made into a movie and released on August 11, 2017 which is very recently. Jeannette Walls is also the author of Half Broke Horses and The Silver Star, and both books have good ratings. Walls also attended Barnard University, which is related to Columbia University which is an Ivy League university.

In my opinion, this book was definitely worth reading. Her stories were not out of this world or fictitious, but it is definitely different from other books you have read. She gave us snippets from events that happened in her everyday life and for some this is more interesting than a book about magic. This memoir brings us into a different world and it is peculiar to realize that this is our world. People live like how Jeannette lives, some do it because they want to and others do it because they have to. No matter how you relate this book to the real world, it might change the way you look at things. In my own experience, seeing this family live like this made me appreciate all that I have. It also made me think about how there are people that do not have a lot and are living off the bare minimum. In a way I feel like if a reader relates this to the real-world, they will come to realize these things. Altogether, The Glass Castle is definitely a book I recommend everyone to read and give it five out of five stars!

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