The Glass House by Jeannette Walls – Book Review

Back by popular demand (ha!), I’m reviewing a book again. Decided this book was worth it.

The Glass Castle is another amazing book I found on my kindle. I was on the night train from Nong Khai to Bangkok and it was 7.30pm and the train guy had already made my bed. I wasn’t tired though so once I finished Last Night at Chateau Marmont by the same author as The Devil Wears Prada, I tried to find something else to read. I opened about seven books then closed them before randomly picking The Glass Castle based on the name.

The first page got me hooked. A woman hides in her taxi after driving by and seeing her own mother going through a rubbish bin in New York. Yes. This was going to be interesting. How and why was her mother rooting through the rubbish and how did this woman rise above her upbringing to become a successful New York reporter?

I was even more hooked when we were transported to this woman’s youth and discovered that when she was three years old she was cooking hot dogs by herself(!!!), in a trailer park(!!!), and her body got burnt(!!!). An ordeal that’s close to my heart after my recent fire escapade. And her father stole her from the hospital, running away before they paid the bill(!!!).

I actually had to press the buttons on my kindle to go back to the start to confirm that this was indeed a memoir of author, Jeannette Wall’s life. This was incredible, so fantastical in a bad way, how could it be real?
The Glass Castle - kindle

Her dad is an alcoholic who tells tall tales and manages to stay one step ahead of the law. Her mother, a so called artist, is ‘addicted to excitement’ and refuses to care for her children. The family are always on the move, living in ther car or rundown shacks. Her siblings are the only ones who truly knows what kind of life they led as children.

It was so intriguing that I read about 25% of the book that night (the kindle gives you percentages, not page numbers) before I realised our train was to arrive in Bangkok at 6am the next day and that I should try to get some sleep. I didn’t, FYI, due to the thousands of midges flying into my face through the open train window.

This novel, mostly taking place around Walls’ childhood, is written simply, cleanly, and works well with the subject matter. It’s sad but not too sad. Exciting but not too horrific. It’s just a really good read. Crazy, surreal, and intriguing. Enough so that I’m going to start Walls’ second novel.

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