Let’s celebrate the The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls as the movie is released.

For me, never before has a memoir read so much like fiction and never before have I both loved and hated the same “character” so much.

If you haven’t read this book yet (of course many of you have as it was on the bestsellers list for a few years) I highly recommend doing so either before or instead of the movie.

Even if you have already read the book I hope you will enjoy reminiscing a bit with me.

“The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant.”

As the author’s family moves from place to place, usually quickly to avoid bill collectors, finally settling in Appalachia, the kids often must feed and look out for themselves due to an alcoholic father and a self-absorbed mother. Still the parents are not without value teaching their kids much about the world and embracing life (sometimes dangerously).

The mom was more of a passive bad parent. She just did nothing. The dad was an active bad parent but I still found myself seeing the best of him.

During my reading experience, I went from loving the father to hating him to accepting him, as does the author.

Let’s start with a good part. When the family is too poor for Christmas presents he takes each kid outside separately, and “gives them a star.” This is one of the most beautiful memories I have read.

“We laughed about all the kids who believed in the Santa myth and got nothing for Christmas but a bunch of cheap plastic toys. ‘Years from now, when all the junk they got is broken and long forgotten,’ Dad said, ‘you’ll still have your stars.”

Then of course there are uncountable instances when he put his family in true danger, and many of these instances are unforgivable.

Still, I find myself celebrating the overall beauty of this story even if it does lie in resilience.

I’ve blogged about several really good memoirs, including: Hillbilly Elegy, Hunger, and Life Itself.

When a good writer is telling his or her own brutally honest story, it is generally one I am going to appreciate and recommend.

Ironically I read the book before seeing the movie and now I’m not sure I can see the movie…that’s how strongly I felt this book.

Fellow fans of The Glass Castle, will you see the movie?

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