The Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsA tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that, despite its profound flaws, gave the author the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his childrens imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldnt stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an excitement addict. Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.
What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story.
Hidden Meanings Behind "The Glass Castle" Movie (Spoilers)
The Glass Castle
Jeannette takes the pistol from Lori and continues to shoot at Billy- thankfully missing. Arguments between an alcoholic father and a mentally ill mother are intense. While drinking, Rex, the father pulls a knife on his wife. He also hangs her out of a second story window. When they move to Welch, Jeanette is then beat up daily by a group of girls while in fifth grade.
Common Sense says
The Glass Castle seemed, on paper, to be the perfect outlet for that release. That the film was directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, whose sensitive drama Short Term 12 was an indie favorite that year, augured well. He could avoid the fat and cheese and get to the muscular center of this sprawling emotional story, a daughter played as a grown-up by Short Term 12 star Brie Larson grappling with her erratic and abusive dad Woody Harrelson as she struggles to find her place in the world. All the good crying material is there. But, alas, I left The Glass Castle almost entirely dry of eye. The film has moments of true bittersweet ache, especially when Larson is on screen. But much of it is clodding and simple, the worst kind of memoir adaptation, when true life—things that actually happened!
He was a smart man with little education but had big dreams one of which was to build a glass castle, hence the title of the book ; he just fails to realize any of them. The family moved from town to town, state to state, until Jeannette was about 10, when the family returned to the small West Virginia coal mine town where the father grew up. With each move, their lifestyle changed. Sometimes they had electricity, running water, beds and a car. Sometimes they slept in large boxes, scavenged for food from the lunchroom trash at school, had huge holes in their homes, no insulation and no way to heat the house through the winter. There were a few occasions where the mom was persuaded to take a job teaching she had a college degree but the children had to treat her like she was the child: waking her up, scooting her out the door, organizing her lessons, grading her papers.