Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Glass Castle

by Jeannette Walls

So, yeah, I'm way behind on book posts. Not good. I even had exciting news to share and didn't get around to that. How rude of me. I got a Kindle for Christmas!! At first I didn't think I wanted one, you know, because real books look, smell and feel so cool. But I'm finding my Kindle to be a delightful sidekick to regular books. Busy me took four trips in three months and my Kindle was the best travel companion. My only complaint is that you have that 20 minute take-off and landing issue where you can't read. I found myself sneaking it into a magazine so I could keep going. I mean, if I shut the wireless off, is there really going to be a problem?!

The Glass Castle was my very first Kindle purchase back in January. I was headed to Chicago to see two dear friends, and I bought the book (in under 60 seconds!) in the airport on the way. Once I was on the plane, in flight, I tried to access the Kindle store with no luck, so I guess there's only so much you can do at 10,000 feet. And since I was on a plane not much bigger than my Kia Soul, sitting in the front row, the flight attendant felt the need to talk to me about my Kindle the whole time. Seriously, can't you see I have a new toy and I'm trying to read it?! I don't care about your Sony reader! She never got my subtle hints, and I'm admittedly not one to just tell some to S.T.F.U. (look it up)

I know I'm way late in reading The Glass Castle too, as it was published five years ago. But it's been on my list forever, so it was a perfect choice for my swanky new book reader. Needless to say I was instantly drawn in. The chapters were short and very honest. Chapter Two's first sentence was "I was on fire." Doesn't take much more than that to be completely drawn in.

This book is a memoir about a family so abjectly poor it made my heart ache for the four little children. They would go so long without food that the kids had to steal it from the school cafeteria and sometimes resort to picking old food from the garbage. It was nothing for them to eat moldy bread because their mother told them it built character. The alcoholic father was a man who constantly ran away from his problems. He moved his family all over, and most of the time, they were squatters in old, abandoned homes or buildings. And at the risk of a spoiler alert (although I think I'm safe since I'm one of the last people to read this), at the very end, we find out that the family had plenty of opportunity to be millionaires, but the whack job parents chose the life they struggled through. That fact is what made it unbelievable to think that this really happened. But I guess you can't make up a life like that.

If there's anyone else out there who hasn't read this book, go now and get it. It puts a lot of things into perspective. It definitely made me reflect on how grateful I am for my family and the priveldges I am afforded.

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