"The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-23-2008, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone read this book? Care to start reading?

Anyone who has read the book told me that it's great and totally worth reading. I will start today, so if anyone is interested to join me, I would love that.
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Old 06-24-2008, 01:02 AM
 
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It's a very interesting book...but I found it rather depressing. I'm all for independent thinkers and doing your own thing...but not at the expense of your children.
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Old 06-24-2008, 01:25 AM
 
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i loved the book. i have already read it twice.
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Old 06-24-2008, 05:00 AM
 
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I read it and thought it was very good. Ironically, I'm from that area and experienced many of the things that the writer did.
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone would be interested in participating in discussion? Any first time readers or re-readers?

I just started reading it and have a lot to say!
We can start fromt the beginning, like chapter one or something.
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Old 06-24-2008, 07:47 PM
 
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Anyone would be interested in participating in discussion? Any first time readers or re-readers?

I just started reading it and have a lot to say!
We can start fromt the beginning, like chapter one or something.
im down.
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:43 PM
 
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I am still trying to get a hold of it. I went and looked in my local library today, but I live in a small town with not very much selection and I couldn't find it. I think I might order it.

Jessie
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:04 PM
 
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I loved the book read it in 1 sitting
enjoy
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:34 PM
 
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I too, read it in one night.
My mom had prepared me for a really sad book. It was. Sad. But it didn't have the hideous Angela's Ashes kind of vibe to it that I was expecting.
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Old 06-26-2008, 11:28 AM
 
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I'd be up for a discussion. I've read it before and I'd like to talk it over. It was definitely thought-provoking. Let me know when to start reading it again!

Bicycle-ridin', craftin', bloggin' feminist future mama to my starbabies dum spiro spero
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Old 06-27-2008, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Great! I was hoping more people will join.
I will start tomorrow, when I have more time!

I agree about it being sad, although after reading Angela's Ashes, nothing seems that sad anymore. And just like PP said, it didn't have that horrific vibe.
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Old 06-29-2008, 04:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Discussing Chapter 1 "A Woman on the Street" and beginning of Chapter 2, "The Desert"

I had to remind myself that this book is based on true story, that's how shocking the first chapter was to me, or at least it was the most unusual beginning for any memoir.
Seeing your own mother digging thru garbage, how many of us had an experience like that? Very few. And how quick I was to judge before even reading the book: "She is living in luxury and her mother is on the street! I would never let that happen!". Now I know better. The author says she did everything she could to help her mother, but her mother did not want help.
I wonder if I was in the same situation, would I be embarrased of my mother too?

Beginning of Chapter 2, starts of from the very earliest author's memory. It was fascinating for me to read because my son is now 3 and now is the age when he will start remembering all the significant and little things.
I cannot imagine my son being anywhere near the stove, cooking hot dogs, that's for sure. What a dramatic memory, being set on fire and going to the hospital with all those burns. I knew that the book will bring some sad stories, when Jeannette said that she loved being in the hospital, in warm bed, watching TV and wanted to stay there forever. How she loved all the meals and nice nurses.
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Old 07-17-2008, 03:18 AM
 
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I just finished this book last week and I LOVED it!

That first chapter really got me hooked, and it kept me going through the rest of the book. I might have been too depressed to finish if I hadn't known that she turned out okay.

I cannot fathom ever letting a 3yo boil water at the stove!

Wife to J. Mama to DD(3yo) & DS(1yo)
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Old 07-17-2008, 02:03 PM
 
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I loved this book! I just lent it to a friend, but I'll try my best to participate in the discussion!
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Old 07-17-2008, 02:12 PM
 
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I'm so glad this thread is going. I really loved this book. There were so many things I could relate to and so many things I couldn't even imagine having to go through.
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Old 07-17-2008, 08:33 PM
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I was really disturbed by the book.

I appreciated the writing, but the story itself wasn't one that I'd choose to read again.
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Old 07-17-2008, 08:50 PM
 
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Anyone who has read the book told me that it's great and totally worth reading.
:

I thought it was a wonderful memoir.

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i loved the book. i have already read it twice.
:

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I had to remind myself that this book is based on true story, that's how shocking the first chapter was to me, or at least it was the most unusual beginning for any memoir.
I can see what you mean, but I didn't find it shocking at all.

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Seeing your own mother digging thru garbage, how many of us had an experience like that? Very few.
I have. It's sad, heartbreaking, frustrating, irritating all at once. It is hard to find solutions to root problems.
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Old 07-17-2008, 08:54 PM
 
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I also found the first two chapters to be a shock.
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Old 07-19-2008, 06:50 PM
 
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I loved the book too. I read it & also listened to the book on cd. It was read by the author. Hearing her read the story of her life, with real emotion, was something I will never forget. It gave me chills.

As far as the 2nd chapter, I also remember thinking that my dd would never be that close to doing any of those things at that age. It was very disturbing. It just made me want to go back in time & scoop her up & take care of her.

"While Eeyore frets ...and Piglet hesitates...and Rabbit calculates...and Owl pontificates...Pooh just is."
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Old 07-19-2008, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey!
I didn't realize this thread got picked up!

I am thinking that discussing chapter by chapter could be annoying for those who already read the book, especially if it happened a while ago...

So I will just say that I finished the book and really liked it. I also was satisfied with the ending of the book.

This book made me feel so angry at times at the parents! Best interests of their children came last all the time. Every time the things would start improving (like moving into a house they inherited), the parents would something to mess it up.

About the kids, I am just amazed at how great the kids are in this book! They are so smart, strong, endurant. They had been through so much and they managed to build their own future, not fall of the right path and succeed.
In the way, the intelligence of the father and free spirit of the mother did play a positive part in their characters. True survivors...those kids.
I was interesting how long it took for my main character to lose faith in her father's dreams.
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Old 07-19-2008, 07:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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:

I thought it was a wonderful memoir.



:



I can see what you mean, but I didn't find it shocking at all.



I have. It's sad, heartbreaking, frustrating, irritating all at once. It is hard to find solutions to root problems.
Wow... i'm sorry... perhaps that's why you didn't find the first chapter shocking, perhaps because you could relate to the author?
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Old 07-20-2008, 12:44 AM
 
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Hey!
I didn't realize this thread got picked up!

I am thinking that discussing chapter by chapter could be annoying for those who already read the book, especially if it happened a while ago...

So I will just say that I finished the book and really liked it. I also was satisfied with the ending of the book.

This book made me feel so angry at times at the parents! Best interests of their children came last all the time. Every time the things would start improving (like moving into a house they inherited), the parents would something to mess it up.

About the kids, I am just amazed at how great the kids are in this book! They are so smart, strong, endurant. They had been through so much and they managed to build their own future, not fall of the right path and succeed.
In the way, the intelligence of the father and free spirit of the mother did play a positive part in their characters. True survivors...those kids.
I was interesting how long it took for my main character to lose faith in her father's dreams.
:

ITA, with everything you said.
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Old 07-20-2008, 01:15 AM
 
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Wow... i'm sorry... perhaps that's why you didn't find the first chapter shocking, perhaps because you could relate to the author?
Thanks. You are probably right. I didn't find it shocking at all, but I had a very similar childhood, and felt much like the author felt about her parents in my early adulthood and now.

It is very frustrating to have a highly intelligent parent, who is intellectually cabable of just about anything, but who has dependency issues and vices (as well as highly independent personalities) that prevent them from overcoming, or recovering from, addiction, homelessness, etc.

It is very depressing, frustrating, sad, heartbreaking, and irritating all at once. It often seems very hopeless.

What impressed me was how well adjusted the children in the book were, for the most part. I think many children who grow up in such environments are much less stable.

One thing I wish the author would have written more about was her marriages. I believe she was married twice, the first marriage ending in divorce.

I have had a lot of trouble in my own marriage, and my husband often blames my "issues" on my childhood. Sometimes if there are things in life that I have held as long time goals, but which my husband disagrees with, he'll say something like, "it's not my responsibility to make up for your childhood." A few times during arguments he's called me "white trash" or "trailer trash" and later apologized. Those kind of comments really sting. I wonder if a person ever truly can overcome stigmas of economic class. The author talked about how she hid her upbringing and poverty from people around her. I can relate to that because throughout my life, when people have become aware of where I came from and what type of people my parents are, I have often lost friends.

Like the author, I used education as my life saver. Thank goodness for public education! I really related to her stories of hunger and schools. I was always hungry as a child, but still managed to excel academically, and was always at the top of the class. College helped to erase a lot of memories of growing up in utter poverty, and provide opportunities in life that seemed to always evade me in childhood.

The book was truly a meaningful and beautifully written memoir for me. I just wish that the author was able to provide more resolution at the end. It seemed as though nothing was ever going to make her parents change, but maybe that was a resolution of and in itself. The children found resolution perhaps, or maybe resignation. The end of the book was more about acceptance of what had been, and still was, instead of a change of heart and change in direction for the parents.
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:49 PM
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A few times during arguments he's called me "white trash" or "trailer trash" and later apologized. Those kind of comments really sting.
Wow, that's totally unacceptable and completely mean!!!

The author seemed to indicate that, with her first marriage, she found somebody "safe," who was the complete opposite of her father.

Then she said, "he was a good man, just not the right man for me" so perhaps there wasn't chemistry or something there.

I loved this book, too, in a heartbreaking way, of course.
The mother seemed bipolar.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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Old 07-23-2008, 12:57 AM
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I also found it poignant that she made her own braces (or attempted to, at least!) It made me wonder if she had ever had braces as an adult. I noticed that she had a closed-mouth smile on her cover picture.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:10 AM
 
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I also found it poignant that she made her own braces (or attempted to, at least!) It made me wonder if she had ever had braces as an adult. I noticed that she had a closed-mouth smile on her cover picture.
I can't recall if it was in the book, or if I heard Ms. Walls talk about it in an interview that I saw her give, but she said that one of the first things that she did for herself when she got her first job was to pay for braces to straighten her teeth. She said it was one of the best things she'd ever done for herself.

I thought that she was pretty industrious about a lot of things in the book, including trying to make her own braces.
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:19 AM
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I can't recall if it was in the book, or if I heard Ms. Walls talk about it in an interview that I saw her give, but she said that one of the first things that she did for herself when she got her first job was to pay for braces to straighten her teeth. She said it was one of the best things she'd ever done for herself.
Interesting!

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:23 AM
 
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Interesting!
I can't recall why she thought it was the best thing, though. I think maybe she said she had suffered low self-confidence because kids had teased her a lot about her teeth when she was in school.
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. You are probably right. I didn't find it shocking at all, but I had a very similar childhood, and felt much like the author felt about her parents in my early adulthood and now.

It is very frustrating to have a highly intelligent parent, who is intellectually cabable of just about anything, but who has dependency issues and vices (as well as highly independent personalities) that prevent them from overcoming, or recovering from, addiction, homelessness, etc.

It is very depressing, frustrating, sad, heartbreaking, and irritating all at once. It often seems very hopeless.

What impressed me was how well adjusted the children in the book were, for the most part. I think many children who grow up in such environments are much less stable.

One thing I wish the author would have written more about was her marriages. I believe she was married twice, the first marriage ending in divorce.

I have had a lot of trouble in my own marriage, and my husband often blames my "issues" on my childhood. Sometimes if there are things in life that I have held as long time goals, but which my husband disagrees with, he'll say something like, "it's not my responsibility to make up for your childhood." A few times during arguments he's called me "white trash" or "trailer trash" and later apologized. Those kind of comments really sting. I wonder if a person ever truly can overcome stigmas of economic class. The author talked about how she hid her upbringing and poverty from people around her. I can relate to that because throughout my life, when people have become aware of where I came from and what type of people my parents are, I have often lost friends.

Like the author, I used education as my life saver. Thank goodness for public education! I really related to her stories of hunger and schools. I was always hungry as a child, but still managed to excel academically, and was always at the top of the class. College helped to erase a lot of memories of growing up in utter poverty, and provide opportunities in life that seemed to always evade me in childhood.

The book was truly a meaningful and beautifully written memoir for me. I just wish that the author was able to provide more resolution at the end. It seemed as though nothing was ever going to make her parents change, but maybe that was a resolution of and in itself. The children found resolution perhaps, or maybe resignation. The end of the book was more about acceptance of what had been, and still was, instead of a change of heart and change in direction for the parents.

I truly appreciate your input. Thank you for letting into your life a little bit.
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I can't recall if it was in the book, or if I heard Ms. Walls talk about it in an interview that I saw her give, but she said that one of the first things that she did for herself when she got her first job was to pay for braces to straighten her teeth. She said it was one of the best things she'd ever done for herself.

I thought that she was pretty industrious about a lot of things in the book, including trying to make her own braces.
I'd love to read some interviews with her. She is such a fascinating person.
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