Author: Jeannette Walls
Published: July 11th 2017 by Scribner (first published March 2005)
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Personal Context: Recommendation from a coworker.
The Glass Castle really is “nothing short of spectacular.” Unlike so many works of fiction that contain 2-dimensional characters, Walls does a beautiful job in presenting her siblings and her parents as thoroughly and as perfectly as reality necessitates while demonstrating the complexity of the human psyche. There are times when you want to loathe her parents for their neglectful, whimsical–and sometimes downright childish and dangerous–approach to parenting, but as you get more and more involved in their story, you can’t help but understand–and sometimes pity–them for their own destructive childhoods. This story may not have an archetypal or stereotypical “fairy tale happy ending,” but Walls gives her story the ending it deserves with all of the anticlimax and contentedness that reality will provide. A truly beautiful story about the hardships of life and what one must do to overcome them, The Glass Castle is a reminder that our past never truly leaves us, and it is our responsibility to embrace it and learn from it.