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Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Reviewer's Choice Memoir Pubbed by Scribner

The Glass Castle
By Jeannette Walls
Scribner, 2005
ISBN# 978-0-7432-4754-2

Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin for

Jeannette Wall’s The Glass Castle is a compelling memoir that delves into resilience, self-discovery, and love. Dad is “half potted.” Mom is flighty and “nonchalant in the face of adversity.” The couple accidentally raises resilient children.

The author, one of their children, describes her upbringing with clarity, honesty, respect, and love. She leaves the judgments to others. The young narrator’s innocence, which remains intact throughout the memoir, turns tragic episodes into adventures. The children sleep in refrigerator boxes at a railway station. Dad turns the planet Venus into a Christmas gift. Mom refuses to sell inherited acres in Texas, claiming it is a legacy and must stay in the family.

What makes their behavior almost palatable is the love that comes from these two bizarre parents. They don’t mean to hurt their children. From her father, Rex, Wall learned that survival is all about bravado and craftiness. From her mother she learned that a bright and breezy attitude can turn any disaster into a blessing. Filled with the complexities love creates, The Glass Castle would be grim in less skillful hands. Wall leaves judgments about the parents and their dysfunctions up to the reader.

As a teenager Wall stayed at the school, which was heated, and worked on the school paper, The Maroon Wave. She becomes the first eleventh grader to be appointed editor. Adversity, in her case, led to triumph. She left her family, got educated with her brother in New York, married a successful writer, and today she writes for MSNBC. Her style and story make her an author worth watching. Get a copy of her book today.

Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin,

1 comment:

Frances Lynn said...

This does sound like an enticing book.

Frances Lynn