Ok, I’m not going to deny that I am behind the times here, this book came out over ten years ago. Over the summer a friend invited me to check out a used bookstore. She had heard it was in the basement of the old bell tower and we were expecting a cool adventure that involved exposed brick. Turns out, it all about emphasis. Old bell tower conjures up images of churches and “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”. When in reality, here in Canada, there is a phone and internet company called Bell-Aliant. We were a tad disappointed. While we were there, I found this. I had heard a lot about it in the sense that the movie was coming out and the bookstore I work in had about 100 copies because of said movie. I had no idea what book was about. My friend told me I would really enjoy it and she wasn’t wrong. I put off picking it up for a while but before we were heading home to New Brunswick for Thanksgiving I decided to throw it in my bag. I never end up having a lot of down time when I’m home but better safe than sorry. Once I started it, I didn’t want to stop. The only reason it took me two weeks to read it was because of the everyday responsibilities I have to do, like you know,going to work and making sure we don’t live in filth. I had yesterday off and I was determined I was going to finish it, which I did.
So for those who don’t know, I feel like I’m writing this in vain but I just can’t stop talking about it, this book is the memoir of Jeannette Walls. She grow up very poor with extremely book-smart parents, who are the definition of eccentric and do not like being told how to live and “raise” their children. Walls recounts her childhood of constantly moving from place to place to avoid the authorities, the ups and downs of income (as well as food) and the slow climb that is growing up. The stories are fantastically told and leaves you reeling afterwards.
I have had a few conversations about this book over the last two weeks and there are definitely some mixed reviews. My grandmother, who I normally share the same opinion when it comes to books, absolutely could not stand it. She read it when it was originally published and she thought it was an awful book about two people who shouldn’t been allowed to have children. I was also talking to an older customer this week who also shared the same opinion. Two of my friends that encouraged me to read it, could not love it more. I don’t know if it’s an age thing or just a life experience thing but I love this book. The thing that strikes me most about her writing is that even though she had to relive some awful experiences to share her story, you can tell its coming from a place of love. A few of the people I have been talking to said it was her justifying her parents flaws and the things that happened to them, also over simplifying the stories as to not paint her parents in a bad light. While you are reading this book, you are growing up with her. At first this stories are told with love and almost no judgement as she would experience them. As she is growing up, you can still sense the love in her stories but also a sense of frustration. As well for her to share these stories is an amazing thing. I think telling people you know about your past is one thing, but reliving them to share with them with the world is powerful.
I love thing book and I’m so glad I stumbled across it. I also really liked that it was worn book. I love when books are brand-spanking new and I love when they have been through the ringer. This book has definitely gotten some more dings in it because it travelled with me non-stop for two weeks trying to find a moment to finish it.
Did you read The Glass Castle? Where do you fall on the spectrum of liking this book? Have you seen the movie? let know me!