The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls This memoir tells the story of the Walls family -- with the boisterous, oftentimes drunken dad; the free-spirited, artist mother; and the four children who, as they grow, come to realize that their constantly moving, often-starving, proud-to-a-fault family is not "normal" and that there are better ways to live.At first, I enjoyed this book because the story of Jeannette's childhood were so out there and crazy -- her dad taking her to pet a cheetah at the zoo; getting up in the middle of the night and packing the car up to "skedaddle" out of town when bill collectors were coming; watching her mother play piano out in the back yard because they couldn't get it up the porch to the house. After awhile, though, the family moved to Welsh, a poor mining town, and things seemed to go downhill. I kept reading, rejoicing in the triumphs, hoping beyond hope that they'd find some way out of their destitution. Reading about how the siblings had to go digging through garbage for food made me appreciate the food that's so readily available to me. I was somewhat shocked by the last section, when the children move to New York and their parents follow, at reading about how it is to be homeless in the city, and how, despite their children's efforts and their momentary breaks of luck, the Walls parents actually preferred living how they always had lived; there was a certain comfort in the familiarity of not having anything.The writing is great -- the beginning especially is written in such a humorous way, with the childlike acceptance of her parents' eccentricities. By the time the children begin growing up and realizing things aren't as adventurous and great as they seem, the author has pulled you into their world, made you care for them, and you find yourself rejoicing in their triumphs, aching with their losses, and hoping beyond hopes that things will start looking up for them.