The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls, is a memoir in which the author tells the story of her young life and of the adversity she and her siblings faced. She grows up with parents whose principles and stubborn nonconformity are the cause of hardship for the family, but are also the basis foundation of their identities.
We first see her father as a brilliant, well learned, and charismatic leader, who enchants his children with tall-tales and scientific data alike. But his ''little bit of a drinking situation'' makes it impossible for him to hold jobs for long, and he frequently wastes what little money they have on liquor and gambling instead of providing for his children. And when drunk, he causes his family to suffer. These flaws combined with their free-spirited Mother: an aspiring artist and self proclaimed, “excitement addict”, who prefers to paint rather than shoulder the responsibility of raising children, pave the road to disaster and heartbreak.
A the story begins, the family lives like nomads, traveling through Southwest US towns, deserts , and mountains. But as the romance of this wandering existence fades and money runs out, the Walls attempt multiple lifestyles and test several options before finally retreating to the West Virginia mining town their father had done so much to escape.
The memoir is filled with disturbing events that the children are encouraged to view as thrilling exploits. At the age of three Jeannette is severely burned while boiling hotdogs unsupervised as her mother paints. Pursued by bill collectors, the family makes several hasty relocations, including one so rushed the family cat is hurled from the car for being uncooperative. The baby of the family, Maureen, falls from their rotted porch steps and suffers a gash on her head. These traumas are merely a handful of the many ordeals the family goes through under the façade of excitement.
The title, ''The Glass Castle,'' inspires an ambience of fantasy and magic and creates a...