The Glass Castle

Mom and I stopped by a Barnes and Noble last summer while we were in Santa Barbara and I saw this book sitting on one of the tables and it immediately caught my attention, so Mom got it for me. For anyone who has read Angela's Ashes, The Glass Castle is very similar in the sense that it's a true story told from the point of view of the author as a child as he/she grows up under very, very difficult circumstances.

The Glass Castle is heart-breaking to read and yet has a very hopeful undertone to it. I think I found it so interesting because it's absolutely nothing like my childhood. It was very eye-opening to look so deeply and personally into someone else's childhood and see how different all of our lives are.

The back of the book summarizes the story by saying, "The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeanette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. The Glass Castle is truly astonishing - a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family."

I didn't underline much in the book, but here are some of my favorite quotes:

Page 14: "A few days later, when I had been at the hospital for about six weeks, Dad appeared alone in the doorway of my room. He told me we were going to check out, Rex Walls-style. 'Are you sure this is okay?' I asked. 'You just trust your old man,' Dad said. He unhooked my right arm from the sling over my head. As he held me close, I breathed in his familiar smell of Vitalis, whiskey, and cigarette smoke. It reminded me of home. Dad hurried down the hall with me in his arms. A nurse yelled for us to stop, but Dad broke into a run. He pushed open an emergency -exit door and sprinted down the stairs and out to the street. Our car, a beat up Plymouth we called the Blue Goose, was parked around the corner, the engine idling. Mom was up front, Lori and Brian in the back with Juju. Dad slid me across the seat next to Mom and took the wheel. 'You don't have to worry anymore, baby,' Dad said. 'You're safe now.'"

Page 38: "One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not to far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. 'You'd be destroying what makes it special,' she said. 'It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty.'"

Page 129: "Mom waved at the crowd. 'You know you're down and out when Okies laugh at you,' she said. With our garbage-bag-taped window, our roped-down hood, and the art supplies tied to the roof, we'd out-Okied the Okies. The thought gave her a fit of the giggles."

Here is the author and her Mom talking a little bit about her story. She seems like a very lovely person.

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