“The Glass Castle” Teaches Many Lessons

Jeannette Walls' memoir is a worthwhile book

The Glass Castle, written by Jeannette Walls about her childhood, is a memoir about family, trials and tribulations, and the importance of storytelling. It spent over seven years on the New York Times bestseller list.

Simon and Schuster, press release, fair use

The Glass Castle, written by Jeannette Walls about her childhood, is a memoir about family, trials and tribulations, and the importance of storytelling. It spent over seven years on the New York Times bestseller list.

Paul Flaherty, Contributor

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“The Glass Castle” is a memoir  about Jeannette Walls who endures hardships in her life.  She lives with a family that has Rex her dad who is an alcoholic and Rosemary her mother.  Both are negligent to their children.

The book was made into a movie in 2017. The memoir is better than the movie for many reasons. First, the book is more detailed and talks about all of the places that they lived in; while in the movie they just mention a fraction of the places and mainly talk about Welch and New York City. The time line is also different. Also the book mentions many family members while the movie does not.

The memoir is set up in segments that allow the book to be easily read. Each segment is a region that the family lived in during their life.

The introductory segment is about Jeannette’s early life. At an age where children should be supervised while operating ovens and cooking appliances, Jeannette gets burned cooking hot dogs by herself.  She is hospitalized but her dad Rex does another “skedaddle” and takes her from the hospital before she is healed.

I recommend this book because it is a great memoir that talks about the issue of addiction and its consequences. ”

— Paul Flaherty

In the second segment the Walls start to live in the desert far away from urban society. While on the move to Battle Mountain, Rex and Rosemary have their kids Lori, Jeannette, and Brian go in the back of a truck like cargo. The kids are in the dark alone for hours. Which is indicative of more negligent behavior, treating them more like animals and not much like children. In Battle Mountain, the family takes residency in live in an abandoned train station. Then they move to Phoenix and live in a house, all the while they are occasionally enrolled in school.

The third segment the family (which has grown to include a fourth child Maureen) moves again to a small city called Welch, here they meet Rex’s mother Erma. Erma allows the family to stay in her house for a while. Until when Rex leaves for one of his drinking trips, Erma engages in inappropriate behaviors involving Brian. Erma is a negligent grandmother, not watching over the kids at all and not treating them right. The Walls eventually move out of Erma’s house and buy the cheapest residence in town which is 93 Hobart Street. It is not livable in any way, shape, or form. It has no running water and no electricity. The children grow up in Welch.

Finally in the fourth segment the children move to New York City separately. Jeannette and her sister Lori prosper. Jeannette goes to college. They start to have a better life when they are all grown up.

Lionsgate Movies, Press Release, Fair Use

I recommend this book because it is a great memoir that talks about the issue of addiction and its consequences.  The memoir explains how other people can deal with family tragedies and other major issues. Many people will be interested in the hardships and challenges in her life. Memoirs help people compare with their life. People can learn lessons that happen in other peoples’ lives to help them make their lives better.

What I learned about other people is that other people can have addiction-related issues and some families out there might have the same addiction-related issues like in this memoir. A lesson in the memoir is not to drink. If you drink it may impact your family, just like what happened with the Walls family.

Reading this memoir helps me learn how to show empathy to others because I think about the harsh treatment that Jeanette and the other family members in the memoir endure.   The negligence of Rex and Rosemary not watching over their kids made me feel very empathetic toward the children.

This book should remain on the freshmen reading list because it helps teach people about addiction and how to stay away from addiction. It also helps people understand the different lives of people, and it also helps you empathize with people in the memoir. Overall, I recommend this book due to it being a great influential and inspirational work of literature.