Jeannette Walls – 2005
I’ve had The Glass Castle on my metaphorical nightstand for some time. Recently my husband bought a used copy, and I was able to access the book on Scribd – so we did something for the first time in nearly 38 years of marriage: we read the same book at the same time. Husband has not quite finished, so we have only discussed briefly.
If you have been living under the same rock that I apparently have inhabited since 2005, here’s a brief no-spoiler summary: Jeannette and her siblings live a childhood filled with food insecurity and neglect as their “bohemian” parents drag them from city to city in order to evade bill collectors and the law.
This book checks all the boxes: characters you may or may not love to hate, conflict and adversity, and finally, an author who gets out of the way and lets the story tell itself – no small feat.
There are virtually no cues that help the reader pinpoint events in time, with the exception of two references well past the halfway point in the narrative. My husband picked up on this too. No moon landing, no 9/11, no space shuttle explosion, etc. There are references to Presidents Johnson and Kennedy, but not in relation to the events of the story.
There is one description of a recurring family event that is almost surreal in its normalcy toward the end of the book; I won’t say more about that since I don’t want to include spoilers, but if you have read (or if you do read) the book and have an idea of what that event is, and would like to share, please email me at email@example.com; I will be glad to discuss. If there is enough discussion, I’ll post link with some of the excerpts of the discussion, with participant permission of course.
I will also be writing some discussion questions for your use; once they are posted I’ll add the link here. Those questions WILL contain spoilers. Update: discussion questions can be found here.
If you enjoyed Educated, you’ll like The Glass Castle.