Saturday, June 23, 2018

Book Review: The Glass Castle

June 23, 2018

My rating system will go as the following:
One heart eye = I read it once but I'm not gonna read it again.
Two heart eyes = I like it and will read again.
Three heart eyes =  It has a forever home on my bookcase.
Four heart eyes = I love it.
Five heart eyes =  I'm more than willing to sell my soul for more.


Hey y'all, today I am reviewing The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

Deciding on a rating for The Glass Castle is actually a lot harder then I originally thought it would be. After lots of thought and consideration, and changing my rating multiple times, I'm giving The Glass Castle, four heart eyes 😍😍😍😍.

The Glass Castle is a memoir of Jeannette Walls life as she was growing up. For the first half of the book Jeannette, her siblings (Lori, Brian, and later on Maureen) and her parents, (Rex and Rose Mary)  live in the desert of Arizona, moving around to other states like California and Nevada for months at a time before leaving in the middle of the night to wherever they desire. Her father works odd jobs and her mother stays at home painting while the kids took care of themselves.

It isn't until the second half of the novel when the family finds themselves moving back to Rex's old hometown in West Virginia that life takes a turn for the worst for the Walls family. Rex leaves for days on end to drink and comes home drunk while Rose Mary devotes her entire time to launching her career as an artist while the kids are left to essentially fend for themselves as they try to one day leave everything behind in hopes of a better life.

The reason I decided to read The Glass Castle was not because I saw it in a store and decided that it would be interesting, but because of my book clubs wild response to it. For those who know me, I work at Blue Umbrella Books by doing their social media for them and because of that I attend the once a month book club we have. For June it was decided that we would read The Glass Castle. I admit to being a bad reader because I usually am unable to read the books in time for our discussions, (oh the irony,) but I love listening to everyone's thoughts and opinions about the books. This month, the discussion completely shocked me. 

We've had some pretty interesting conversations about some books, but this one took it to another level. I couldn't believe the things that were happening in the novel they had read and found myself listening with wide eyes. I'll never forget how the discussion started, with our lovely Joyce walking in and saying, "I did say I was going to bring in a chocolate bar for everyone to have, but I ate them all under the blankets." I was incredibly confused but laughed because I thought it was funny and as an avid chocolate lover, found myself nodding in agreement. It wasn't until later that the chocolate bar comment was explained that I understood the importance of it to The Glass Castle.

That night I started reading The Glass Castle and found myself not wanting to go to bed so I could continue to read it. I then spent almost the entire next day sitting reading the book, unable to do anything else until I finished it at ten that night. I found myself laughing at the dark humor and feeling sympathy and maybe even empathic to the author at certain moments. Like the rest of book club, the character I disliked the most was the mother, Rose Mary, having to stop and rant about her on Facebook to catch a breather at one point. The last time a book had gotten me so riled up was when I read Memoirs of A Geisha by Arthur Golden for the first time while I was junior in high school. Fun Fact, I actually did throw it away from me when I read his acknowledgements.

Which is why I am giving four heart eyes to The Glass Castle. The fact that this is a memoir and that the author had gone through all of the events is heartbreaking, but the way Jeannette Walls went about writing it all is without a doubt...beautiful. The metaphors and imagery she uses helps to paint a picture of the scenes she writes. I could feel the never ending dampness that lingered in their small town in West Virginia and the hope she had every time her dad told her he was going to build them the glass castle when they were younger. While it is sad and depressing, at the end I found myself grateful for the things I have and the experiences that I have gone through. The Glass Castle is a book that I would read again, although not right away, as well as place on my bookcase.

Jeannette Walls graduated from Barnard College was a journalist in New York. The Glass Castle was published in 2005 and was made into a movie in 2017. Her other books, The Silver Star and Half Broke Horses can be found on Simon and Schuster's website. You can also follow her on Goodreads and on Facebook for more information.


- Lindsay Stenico

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Book Review: The Glass Castle

June 23, 2018 My rating system will go as the following: 😍😍😍😍😍 One heart eye = I read it once but I'm not gonna read it again....