“The Glass Castle” book review


Codi Farmer, Staff Reporter

Now author and journalist Jeannette Walls opens up about the most intimate and strangest aspects of her upbringing in her raw autobiography “The Glass Castle.” She describes how her parents, two hippies on the run, as well as her three siblings shaped her into the strong-willed and hard working individual that she is today.

The story of her life begins where any would – her childhood. However, that is about as ordinary as this piece gets. Walls breaks down her deepest memories, depicting events that would ordinarily make others shudder. The story follows her through Nevada, California, West Virginia and New York. Her notably unhinged father spent his whole life trying to evade the authorities and got by from doing odd jobs whenever he could along with lots and lots of gambling. Walls’ mother was an aspiring artist and self-proclaimed hippie. Years after Walls finally got away from her parents’ peculiar lifestyle, they ended up following her and her siblings to New York City where Jeannette would sometimes see them dumpster diving or sleeping on park benches – by choice.

Jeannette Walls is a natural-born writer and this novel makes that evident. Her sharp memory of eccentric details leaves the reader captivated and motivated to get to the end. Using her journalistic background, Walls embeds the quotes she remembers from her family members and is able to balance the haunting and dark aspects of her past with a lighthearted writing style.

To me, the most enjoyable aspect of the story was how it made me feel after reading it. Walls is beyond inspirational, rising up from the dirt in the Nevada deserts and enduring her father’s reckless and harmful behavior to help her siblings achieve their goals. This autobiography is a story of resilience and perseverance. It shows how you can make the best out of a hard situation just from sheer motivation.

As a general rule for myself, I don’t induct many books into my list of favorites, but “The Glass Castle” has without a doubt been admitted in. The inspiring tale makes the reader feel as if no matter where they are or where they have been, nothing is impossible. You just have to be willing to try.