Sunday, March 18, 2007

Book #11 The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

I picked up this book four or five times before I actually bought it. There was something about the cover that I was drawn to, but when I read the back it seemed like the typical "my father was an alcoholic so my life sucked" memoir...the type of book that made me hate memoirs. But, I decided that I had picked it up often enough that there must be something deeper to my interest in the memoir, so I bought it.

I was deeply surprised, again, by my enjoyment of a memoir. Walls grew up with such unbelievable experiences I couldn't help but wonder sometimes if she had "Million Little Pieces Syndrome"--but her credits are reliable and, while incredible, her stories speak of true experience. I found myself being alternately horrified and amazed, sad and joyful, sometimes even on the same page.

One particular element of interest to me is that Walls spent a large part of her youth in Welch, West Virginia. I had heard of Welch as decribed by Homer Hickam in his memoirs, and it was very interesting to see the same setting described by another writer who knew the town.

I definitely recommend The Glass Castle. Jeannette Walls has a way of storytelling that is matter-of-fact, journalistic, and heartbreaking in its simplicity. She is a true success story and, ultimately, a Cinderella who missed her senior prom but finally got to go to the ball.

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