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Thursday, January 28, 2010

GLASS CASTLE - Jeanette Walls

Jay Co. Public Library book group, AC Adult Literati and AC HS Student Literati read Glass Castle

I have read it twice now and found it totally engrossing. Both of the adult groups I attend read this selection earlier, while my student group read it just recently. As far as I could tell all of us liked delving into the eccentricities of the Wall parents and following the four extremely intelligent children into adulthood. 

Ms Walls hooked me specifically into reading it when she was on Oprah upon the book's publication. Her desire was to explain her parents lifestyle choice to live on the street. Ms Walls had kept it a secret for many years and wished to "come out" so to speak, to divest herself of her guilt for not owning her background, but also to free herself from the fear that her friends and colleagues would find out and somehow judge her. The book follows Jeanette and her family through their very difficult childhood. It is a moving and fascinating story of a dysfunctional family who still finds joy in life and love for each other. It is a survivor story and if nothing else makes one think about judging and stereotyping.

The Adams Central Adult Literati in Monroe, Indiana read this book a few years ago. For the most part we all enjoyed it greatly. Perhaps since the AC group is mostly teachers and professionals who work with the public we have experienced enough eccentricity to be able to see beyond that to the worth of persons who are not "typical." I don't know, but we laughed and had a great time discussing it. When it turned up on a reading list for high school, a handful of my student Literati members read it. To my disappointment none of them raved about it or wanted to go into detail discussing too much. Perhaps they aren't mature enough to want to understand the psychology, it but I expect that of kids sometimes. 

Recently the Jay County Public Library reading group read it and only a few of us liked it! Several of this group got so upset with the dysfunction of the family that they claimed to not be able to like them or identify with them. There were some who claimed to get depressed reading the story and found it quite unpleasant. I was taken by surprise, and am just wondering if possibly it has something to do with the life experiences or the sophistication of the reader? Oh well...


  1. I have often wondered why I enjoy different books than others. Many people at work find my choices disturbing or depressing. This is funny to me because you have greatly influenced my taste and supply me with most of my favorite titles.
    I feel that reading these books haven't made me depressed, but just sad. They have also made me a better person. I try to relate to the characters and question my own actions when faced with adversity. Some titles affect me more than others and I would be lying if I didn't admit the fact that "The Book Theif" gave me nightmares.
    I wonder if it isn't an intelligence issue or just a drive to better oneself with the stories of others. Regardless of fiction or non-fiction every story has a message. Perhaps we're just not afraid of it?

  2. You are wise beyond your years. I think you have hit the proverbial nail. See I just needed a good mind to help me think this through. I need you to move next door so I can pick your brain on a regular basis. I am afraid of very little, you?

  3. What I wouldn't give to live next door! It would be interesting to have someone who shares my passion for books so close! To have another perspective at my disposal would be priceless.

    I must say that I would like to think I am afraid of very little. It is hard to realize just how vunerable we are as humans and accept that there are so many things that can go wrong. Once that is realized it is hard to be afraid of much. Unless we are talking spiders... now those creatures are just vicious.