Books - Review

Showing all books by: Jeanette Walls

The Glass Castle
A memoir of Jeanette's childhood. Jeanette's parents are unusual characters, intelligent and knowledgeable but scornful of society's values, and evasive of authorities such as the police or tax department. They more or less allow the children to raise themselves with artist mother thinking her art is more important than raising the kids, and the book's opening scene describes how Jeanette sets fire to her dress trying to cook hotdogs, aged three. The four siblings trail round after their parents as dad takes a job for a few months here and there, or earns money gambling. He descends into alcoholism after the death of Mary as an infant. Living in hovels, taken in by relatives, the kids cope with bullies, hunger and accidents as best they can. In sequence the kids all leave for New York where they all do well, the parents follow, living in squats and scavenging for food.
Great, really good read. Astonishing childhood adversity, poverty and weirdness. This, of course, makes it two books in a row where 'black lung' disease features, having never heard of it before - weird eh? This was Larissa's book club book.
Score: 8
Published: 2005
Read: August 3rd 2015