Nov 122008
Authors: kelly bleck

ps fell upon the Walls family, a mother, father and four children fighting to survive on the bare minimum.

A memoir by Jeannette Walls, “The Glass Castle” covers the difficulties her family faced and the ways she adapted to each situation, even as a young child.

Walls’ childhood was accentuated by a father who was an alcoholic, but was extremely dedicated to his children and a mother who’s main goal in life was to become an artist, not necessarily to look after her children.

Her three siblings were her backbone, each of them striving to help the other and coping with the difficulty of basically raising their own parents.

This story was not a complete pity-fest, as most depressing memoirs are, but rather a mix between comedy and obvious acceptance by the author.

Walls illustrates her life not merely as a sad time but as a learning experience. Despite her father’s alcoholism, Walls explains that she continuously loved him. Her disappointment is evident, but she accepted him for who he was, and tried to influence his choices.

Intermixed with Walls’ father’s alcoholism are times when he tries to go sober, and the lessons he teaches his children about math, physics and alternative energy.

Her mother was a character that she focused on, but somewhat remotely because she was not a mother type. Walls sympathizes with her mother, but also thinks she falls short in the area of raising and providing.

When she forces her mother to get a job to bring in money, Walls finds herself getting her mother up and dressed in the morning in order to send her to work. She becomes a strong mother figure within the family, making herself the budgeter and almost full provider.

Walls intimately describes each place the family lived, detailing the houses, cars and trailers her family frequented. When her sister graduates high school, Walls sends her with some hard earned money off to New York, following after her junior year.

Keeping the family together was Walls’ greatest achievement, and her brother soon joins them, along with the youngest sister, and finally her mother and father.

Despite their anger towards their parents, the children are once again the providers in this new town, a place where they are growing while their parents continue on a downward spiral.

From illustrations of each child’s dream of going to New York to their rock fights with neighborhood kids and the scorn they receive from teachers, “The Glass Castle” reveals the perseverance behind a downtrodden family.

Staff writer Kelly Bleck can be reached at

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.