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The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls Memoirs are tricky in that they require an author to take an honest look at their life, find a coherent story, and tell it in a way that is touching but not overly self-indulgent. Walls achieves this wonderful balance in The Glass Castle.The writing is excellent. Walls is a journalist by trade, so I would hope that she would be able to tell a decent story, and she can. She sucks you into the world of the underclass and makes you feel sympathetic and at times, incredibly angry. She’s very good at painting a picture with words.One of the aspects of the book that really makes this work is that Walls doesn’t analyze her life; she lets us do that. She never shares a story and then say what the point of the experience was. She tells her story and lets it speak for itself, which I found incredibly refreshing. It allows readers to look at this book from all different viewpoints. It also assumes some level of intelligence on the part of the reader. At the very beginning of the book, Walls shares a conversation between herself and her mom, in which she ask her mom what she should tell people about her parents. Her mom’s response? “Just tell the truth. That’s simple enough.” And that’s exactly what Walls does. She tells the truth, though it’s not quite as simple as her mom makes it out to be.Walls never delves into self-pity or whining, a feat I find remarkable considering some of the tales from her childhood she tells. Things like living in a house without electricity, and indoor plumbing with holes in the floor would definitely draw several complaints out of me. As it is, it makes the book stronger.I really appreciate that this story was written chronologically. It’s not a requirement for memoirs, not being biographies, but I find memoirs often work better when the stories are linear.Final Impression: This is a solid memoir that opens the doorway for conversations, weaves an interesting tale, and does it tactfully(remarkably so). 4/5 stars. Review first posted on my blog Book.Blog.Bake.