Thursday, June 26, 2008
The Glass Castle
SO, my friend Rebecca was reading this book at work the other day, and she kept just shaking her head and gasping and putting it down and picking it back up again and mumbling things like "These people are crazy!!" while she turned the pages. Naturally, I was intrigued.
She then started telling me snippets of stories out of the book. Apparently it was about some crazy family, and it was being told from the second oldest daughter's point of view, starting at age three. For example: On a family trip (which was actually an escape from officials for driving a car with no registration and a stolen license plate) and instead of piling all the kids into the cabin with the parents, they were shoved into the back of the Uhaul with the furniture. No joke. For a 14 hour drive, four little kids and a newborn baby wobbled around in the back of the truck while their parents took the scenic route to their new home. The six year old was given the responsibility of holding the baby for the entire drive. As if this wasn't bad enough, at one point the back doors of the Uhaul flew open and almost sucked the kids right out! Since the furniture was secured with ropes against the cabin side of the truck, the kids had no way to notify their parents until a fellow driver honked and shone their brights and got the parents' attention.
Did they decide that the back of the truck maybe wasn't the best place for four kids under the age of 8? NOPE. They shut the kids back into the airtight, pitch black compartment and resumed their journey.
At first I did NOT believe that it was a true story. I just could not bring myself to believe that parents could neglect their children to that degree without caring or worrying about their safety. I decided to read the book for myself, and it panned out. Its a memoir written by Jeannette walls, a prominent columnest and successful news reporter, and it is all completely true. And that is only one story out of close to a hundred listed in the book.
The only thing that kept me reading this book through all the neglect and selfishness of Jeannette's parents was the fact that the kids were left to fend for themselves, and I desperately wanted them to make it out of their situation and have normal lives. Every step of the way, I was rooting for the incredibly resilient Walls kids and just marveling at their parents. They neglected their kids, yes. But I know for a fact that their father loved them all, and tried to a greater extent than their CRAZY A$$ mother!!!
It is a seriously thought provoking book. It makes you think all about all of opportunities and choices every person has, and gave me a huge gigantic swell of humility and gratitude for the way I was raised. It made me realize just how lucky I was that my parents chose to be good parents. And I know it wasn't easy sometimes. I love you Mom and Dad, thank you for not trowing us in the back of the Uhaul.
I give this book an A+ for inspiration, and a C- on the cleanliness scale. Prospective readers beware: It has its share of profanity and some really traumatic situations. There is one F word and several sexual references throughout the story. It is not a light read. I can't say that the profanity is completely excuseable, but the entire story is from a little girl's point of view and she is simply repeating true life events from her speckled past. I know I feel uplifted from reading it, but we can all be our own judges. Read it if you want, I'm neither endorsing it or nor discouraging you from reading it. I for myself loved it. It really changed my outlook on life for the better.