Sunday, January 8, 2012

the glass castle: review

It seems my ability to suspend disbelief took a break last month. First there was my struggle to get really into The Book of Negroes and then Jeanette Walls The Glass Castle, which is supposedly non-fiction biography, also tested the limits of believability.

I know there are all kinds of families in the world. And I don't deny that many children slip through the cracks and are raised by loving but incompetent or somehow disabled parents. In the case of Ms. Walls, it would seem one or both of her parents had one or more mental illnesses. But the degree of neglect - allowing a three year old to cook hot dogs on a propane stove for instance - is baffling to the point of distraction.

I will say though, these neglected urchins are a charming lot. Plucky Jeanette and her energy and wit. Her strong, quiet, separate artistic big sister Lori. Charming adventurous brother Brian who's always up for whatever scheme for survival and fun Jeanette dreams up. And tragic baby sister Maureen, largely forgotten until too late. 

For all my misgivings, I quite enjoyed the read because of the charm of the family. Even the clearly insane parents have their charms. You can see why children love even the worst of parents, and these ones come close. Shifting from town to town. Refusing to provide for their children. Self-indulgent, indolent, and border-line insane. And charming. 

2 comments:

  1. I'm going to pick this up! many thanks for your lovely book reviews ~

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hope you enjoy it, Angela. :)

    ReplyDelete

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