“The Glass Castle: A Memoir” by Jeannette Walls – A Review

The Glass Castle, A Memoir by Jeannette Walls – A Review
The Glass Castle, A Memoir by Jeannette Walls – A Review

The Glass Castle: A Memoir” is a book written by Jeannette Walls, an American writer and journalist. She is a regular contributor to MSNBC.com. The book is one of the best-sellers in the U.S. and has reached best-selling rank in “Biographies and Memoirs”. This book, a sensitive and thoughtful memoir tells the story of a woman (the author), who lived a nomadic life with her family, which was a kind of dysfunctional family. However, with persistence, determination and intelligence, she was able to move out of that hopeless condition.

In the opening section of the “The Glass Castle: A Memoir”, Jeannette tells about her early childhood in which she described an unconventional family of hers. Rex and Rose Mary Walls were the parents of Jeannette Walls. They had four children. In the start, they lived a nomadic life. Rex was a brilliant person helping his children in their studies and teaching them to face the fear. Rose Mary was a painter and writer, and was a kind of “excitement addict”. She liked to make a painting that would last forever.

“Why spend the afternoon making a meal that will be gone in an hour,” she’d ask us, “when in the same amount of time, I can do a painting that will last forever?”

However, these were the situations, when the family was in good condition. With the passage of time, the family faced difficult and unfortunate situations and they ran out of money. During that situation, parents were of no help to their children, and Jeannette and her brother and sisters – Lori, Brian, and Maureen—found that they have to live on their own and have to help each other.

In the “The Glass Castle: A Memoir”, journalistic ability of Jeannette Walls has helped her in developing a chilling and incredible story of the childhood neglect. She beautifully narrates the dysfunction of the family, and that is one of the distinguishing features of the book. She has not only beautifully described her struggle and intelligence to move out of the situation, but she has also described her parents with generosity and a deep affection – she neither presents her parents as problematic nor in an ideal manner. This book shows the victory of the author against all difficulties in life. It has also touched some humor. It also tells the story of an unconditional love in a family. Chapters are relatively short in the book that are helpful in absorbing the story and presented information.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book are as follows:

“Things usually work out in the end.”

“What if they don’t?”

“That just means you haven’t come to the end yet.”

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“I lived in a world that at any moment could erupt into fire. It was the sort of knowledge that kept you on your toes.”

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“If you don’t want to sink, you better figure out how to swim”

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“You’re in a horse race but you’re thinking like a sheep. Sheep don’t win horse races.”

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“All seasons have something to offer”

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutics, in Hajvery University, Lahore, Pakistan.