The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls: Book Review

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Cover of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

4 Stars

This is the story of Jeannette Walls’s childhood growing up with a father who adored his children but who also neglected them shamefully and became downright scary when he drank. Her mother was a carefree spirit who couldn’t be bothered to take care of her children. She thought it was good for them to learn to take care of themselves. The first story we get from Jeannette’s childhood involves the horrible burns she sustained while cooking hot dogs for herself at the age of three. Childhood doesn’t really get any better from there.

I’m torn on rating this book. I read it in one day. I really couldn’t put it down. But at the same time, this isn’t the normal kind of book I read and I can’t really say that I enjoyed it. I know that’s not really the point with this kind of memoir, but I do typically choose to read for enjoyment. I don’t really have much to say about it. I’m not a fan of non-fiction, but this did “read like fiction.” I feel like I’ve read a memoir somewhat similar to this in the past. I know everyone’s story is different, but I really think that reading the story of a charming alcoholic’s daughter one time was enough for me. This was one time too many. I’d give it three stars except for the fact that I really did rip right through it.

Reviewed November 30, 2008

Note: I read much more nonfiction these days, I’m proud to say!

Read an excerpt.

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Friday Flashback Reviews, a feature at The Introverted Reader

Friday Flashback Reviews are a weekly feature here on The Introverted Reader. These are old reviews I wrote on GoodReads. Thanks to Angieville and her Retro Friday Reviews for the inspiration and encouragement!

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.

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  1. You're right…enjoyment isn't really the point, but I did connect with Jeannette's story, as I met many children in my social work career whose stories rank right up there with hers in the category of "shitty childhoods."

  2. I really liked The Glass Castle – but it's hard to say I "liked" it when it was such a shitty childhood.

    Tanya Patrice

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