Monday, November 9, 2009

The Glass Castle

A starry night, a swift breeze and rain dripping on an eight year old boy through a tattered roof. Four children growing up in sheer poverty, moving every few months from mining town to desert to trailer park and fending for their own meals all the while. This brave story captured my New York weekend and made me appreciate everything I've ever had in life. Not just material things, but guidance, love, compassion and parents that served as role models. The Walls' children miraculously survive a life filled with instability, fear, role-reversal and lots of hunger. How they did so and all turned out happy, successful and fulfilled adults amazes me. The most amazing thing is that they manage to stay a family even when their parents choose to be homeless on the streets of New York City. Jeannette Walls' moving life story is captured in her first memoir, The Glass Castle. It consists of broken dreams and promises from a drunken father, a mother who lives in her own selfish world and 3 siblings that always look out for each other. In fact, their success and more importantly, their survival was made possible by their love for one another. They stuck together throughout the hunger, extreme cold, rickety homes, parent's violent brawls and being poor outcasts in even the poorest of communities. Not only were they neglected their entire lives by parents who did not plan on having children, but they were also abused and exploited by those same parents. Parenthood is a gift, a miracle which shouldn't be taken lightly and this book emphasizes that point. It is not a gift to be mistreated or unappreciated. In the end, the children left their parent's home and built a new life in the city of opportunity. Only then they started living, learning, eating and socializing. The story ends on this positive note and shows us that life can be a terrible struggle for some but their triumph is that much stronger!

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