The Glass Castle Book Review

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Rachel McLaughlin, Editor

Although this book has been sitting in my “You Should Read This” pile for about a year now, it is definitely a book I wish I would’ve read sooner. With its heartfelt coming of age story and the many characters that you meet along the way, you can easily picture exactly what life is life for the author, Jeannette Walls. As a memoir, sometimes these stories can be hard to read because you can’t relate to what the author is saying. But Walls made this story of suffering and sadness surprisingly easy to understand and empathize with. Although my childhood was nothing like Walls’, for some reason I felt as though we grew up learning some of the same things, just in different situations.

This story is filled with a bunch of little stories. Jeannette grows up in a family that is continuously moving. She has a brother and two sisters, a father who is an alcoholic and a mother who doesn’t know how to stand up for herself. There is no steady income, causing the family to move from rental to rental for almost all of Walls teenage and childhood years. Along with this inconsistency, they grew up surrounded by sketchy people. From a crazy neighbor boy with a gun to moving in with their abusive grandmother, the Walls kids never seem to catch a break. Throughout all of this, their father promises Jeannette that he will eventually build her a glass castle. Where they can finally have a great big home, and somewhere safe to stay. Although this never happens, part of you really wants to believe in the father, that someday he might do something right for his children.

This book pulls you into an alternate universe, even though before reading the book you never knew of a life like the Walls family. The characters each have something different that you want to closely follow. The relationship between Jeannette and her father is heartbreaking but uplifting. I believe that relationship is the main reason that most people keep reading the book. Also, the ultimate message explains the meaning of family, growing up surrounded by your family and the impact these people have on your life once you are on your own. Jeannette Walls ultimately explains to her audience that home is not a place, it’s your family. The power of a loyal family will stay with you even after everyone is gone.