Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

I just finished Jeannette Walls' autobiographical novel, The Glass Castle, or Krystallslottet in Norwegian. Oh what a read!

Jeannette describes her childhood, from her earliest memory of catching fire, and until she's a grown woman working as a journalist in New York. We are introduced to her alcoholic, but genious father, her eccentric artist-sometimes-reluctant-teacher mother, and her three siblings as they struggle through life.

The story is a great read. Every page burst with life, and the reader becomes completely involved in the fate of the family, and Jeanette's especially. Some episodes are laugh-out-loud funny, whereas others really make you stop and think. Walls' reveals some really serious and tender sides of her family life, and she does so without self-pity. She matter-of-factly recounts digging through the trash at school for food when times were hard, and fighting for her life in brawls with other kids. She beautifully portrays her parents, who at times are so negligent towards Jeannette and her siblings that it's almost unbearable to read. Yet you grasp the complexity of these characters, and get an understanding of what drives them, even if you cannot justify their actions.
In all, this is a simply stunning read. Jeannette Walls has written a declaration of love and acceptance of her parents, a depiction of a truly extraordinary up-bringing, and encompasses a strenght of character that defies all obstacles. As I was nearing the end of the story, I dreaded the final page more and more... I really didn't want the story to end.

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