I’ve had The Glass Castle in my queue for some time, but I’d never made time to read it. The title didn’t grab me, which I know is the worst reason to avoid a book. And the truth is the title — while integral to one part of the story, and metaphorically descriptive of the relationship between the author and her father — doesn’t capture the nature of this story.
The story details Walls life growing up with parents who lived somewhere between drifters, grifters, and dreamers. At times horrific and heartbreaking, Walls’ memoir takes the reader into a place that few of us can imagine beyond the pages of the book.
That makes criticizing the book difficult, but the narrative suffered in two ways. The first: It’s repetitive without driving the story forward. Her father was an alcoholic and mother co-dependant. After that fact was firmly established, the story circles that drain for another hundred pages before wrapping up…quickly. The second: There was so little reflection upon the experience that the story felt at times like a journal.
This isn’t to say the story wasn’t interesting. The sheer nature of the disregard and disrepair in Walls’ childhood compelled me to turn the page. But the writing felt as though it worked against the story.