Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Glass Castle

My pals Ginger and Lindsey have been after me to read the book, The Glass Castle, for a really long time. It isn't that I didn't want to read it, I just feel incredibly guilty when I read. I have time for little else. When my house is a disaster, my laundry is overflowing, and my sink is full of dishes I feel like a total heel reading. Ginger wouldn't take no for an answer, and she even enticed me by reading little bits of the book to me aloud. Well, it worked, and this weekend I devoured The Glass Castle. I think just about everyone in the world has read it. It is a real page turner. What is super weird about this book is that a good portion of it takes place in the very area my entire family is from. Well, 12 miles away, Welch, West Virginia.

I don't have trouble believing most of the story, but these are my big questions, and I may add more as they come to me:
  1. In the very beginning of the book the author, Jeannette Walls, sets herself on fire cooking hot dogs. I have no trouble believing she set herself on fire at the age of 3 cooking hot dogs, but what I do have trouble believing is her recall. Not of the tiny details really, but of the bigger things. She claims she was in the hospital for 6 weeks, but I can't believe a 3 year old would understand that kind of passing of time. I can't give her parents credit for remembering those types of details. Maybe I am wrong, but it just seems a little far fetched and prettied up for the sake of sales. Perhaps I am being too critical.
  2. I am to believe by the end of the book that Jeannette's mom has a jewelry collection and a piece of real estate worth $1 million. Ok, this family moved all over the country. Their kids were so hungry they literally ate from the trash, but they managed to keep payments made on some type of holding cell for this collection of jewelry and paid taxes on this land? See, I find that impossible to believe. You have to pay taxes. My mom used to watch the paper all of the time for properties people were losing because of back taxes. You could just pay the taxes on it and the land would be yours, but I am to believe that these homeless wanderers kept their hands on this land? Really?
  3. The mother in this book is a complete looney bird and probably the most selfish person I can imagine. Your kids are eating trash and you are buying art supplies? In ever chapter you read about these stinking art supplies of her mom's. I can only surmise this poor soul suffers from some horrible mental illness, but at least 1/2 of her problem is that she seems very selfish. She didn't ever seem to put her kids first. At one point she is eating a Hershey bar on the down low while her kids are starving.
  4. The father is a straight up alcoholic cuss hole. He steals from his own children, and drinks away their food money. While, by the way, the mom is away renewing her teaching certificate. What the cuss? I feel like the author wants me to have some compassion for him because he was sexually abused by his own mother. Don't get me wrong, that is sucksville fo sho, but you can't be out bar hoppin' while your kids are starving, and by the way, have your freakin' signature line be: "has your old man every let you down?" Ummm, yes cuss head. Every freakin' day of my life! Yet, she still seems to hold this man in high regard. He loved his kids she says. Well, ok. He was your dad not mine, so I guess you gotta call 'em like you see 'em. Good for you, I wouldn't be quite so gracious.
  5. She claims her teeth were in good shape, but she had an overbite. Ok now, this girl was taking a bath maybe once a week, lived in a house with no plumbing, ate trash literally, but her teeth were in great shape? In one chapter she and her sister ate a stick of butter mixed with sugar. I am sorry, I have a little trouble believing your teeth wouldn't rot out of your head. I never saw the dentist regularly and my teeth are held together with fillings and prayer, but this girl's teeth are awesomeville? That just doesn't add up.
Overall I "enjoyed" the book. Enjoyed doesn't seem like the right word. I have never been hungry, I have never not had power or plumbing in my house, but I have lived in the very area and gone to the very schools she talks about in this book. I remember being the new kid, being hated, taunted, and bullied. I hated every second of it. I thought I had been dropped in to a cesspool. It seemed like a different awful scary world. I only lived there about three years, and I feel guilty talking about it in such a negative light. I still have four first cousins living there, but I never felt like I belonged.

This book was hard to read, and in my opinion it boils down to one thing. Don't have kids if you don't plan to take care of them. Idiots!

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