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The Glass Castle ~ Whole Book, Final Discussion

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The Glass Castle ~ Whole Book, Final Discussion

Post Number:#1  Postby Scott » 24 Oct 2007, 22:01

This is the discussion for The Glass Castle. If you have not read the whole book, please do not read further as this thread will contain spoilers.

Now that you have finished the book, what do you think? Did you enjoy reading it? Would you recommend it?

What do you think of Jeannette's life as she describes it? Her life seems like something out of a movie, with the alcoholic father and the "starving artist" mother.

I think it is interesting to read any story of someone who can have life where they face troubles including poverty but then become a bestselling author.

What do you think of her attitude as she recounts her past? Do you get the feeling she has dealt with her past emotionally? Or, do you get the feeling that her past problems and embarrassments still haunt her emotionally?
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Post Number:#2  Postby pinsandneedles » 25 Oct 2007, 12:06

So, mom had land worth a million bucks and chose to live as a squatter?
It seems to me a million bucks would provide you with lots of adventure...and feed your kids at the same time...
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Post Number:#3  Postby Scott » 25 Oct 2007, 12:13

A million bucks would go quickly without a steady income. Over a 20 year period, a million bucks is only $50,000 a year, not counting inflation. Split 3 ways and spread out over a long period of time, it may not have kept them out of poverty. Of course, it does seem very selfish for a mother and father to choose those lifestyles rather than try to take care of their children.
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Post Number:#4  Postby LateBloomer » 25 Oct 2007, 15:21

I was appalled by the idea that the mother had that kind of money available and did not use it for her children. As I read on and thought about it, I came to the conclusion that she did not attach any value to money - she did not view that as a means to make things better for her family because she did not believe things needed to be better. She was happy the way things were - as long as she had her artwork and could be free to do as she wanted, there were no problems - a narcissistic personality.
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Post Number:#5  Postby LateBloomer » 25 Oct 2007, 15:36

This story reminded me of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. That story also has an alcoholic father who has grandiose ideas and plans that could never come to fruition. The little girl in that story is mature beyond her years and despite her father's failures, loves him unconditionally. The Glass Castle illustrates that element of unconditional love on the part of the children and Rex - not so much with the mother however most of her children still loved her unconditionally.
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Post Number:#6  Postby laci_baby » 03 Oct 2010, 11:58

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn was what came to my mind too, almost mirror image only each one having their own depths.

A Glass Castle was rather heartbreaking! Even though the mother not using the money to feed her children was appalling i was more disgusted with how easy forgiveness came from Jeanette. Even though i understand that kids forgive so easy, Jeanette just blew me away. And not just her.... all of the children forgave them. No matter what their parents did whether it was starvation or even stealing their money they forgave them. All in all they gave more love than they received. They had to take care of themselves while their parents just cared about the material things. It just goes to show you that sometimes the children are the most mature and responsible people in a household.

These people did not deserve their children, as so many other people dont deserve theirs. All i can hope for is that the children that grow up in family's like this grow to become strong people that not only uderstand what a real family is, but know the difference between being the parent and being the child.
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Post Number:#7  Postby Jackoliver » 07 Oct 2010, 01:53

I have read the whole books.
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Post Number:#8  Postby laci_baby » 15 Oct 2010, 14:16

Jackoliver wrote:I have read the whole books.


Well congratulations. :?
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Post Number:#9  Postby Smoyer » 22 Feb 2011, 15:00

I read the whole book also and found it to be fascinating. At first I wanted to blame the mother for not having food for her children, but then I thought about the Dad being gone for days at a time. I bet he was eating during that time.

I just finished her Jeannette Walls' book, Half Broke Horses. It is fiction but there is some truth in it according to her. It sort of helps you to understand her mother a little better.
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The Glass Castle

Post Number:#10  Postby Evapohler » 04 May 2011, 12:59

I'm usually more of a fiction reader than one of memoirs, but the storytelling in this nonfiction work was captivating. What an intriguing look into the life a girl brought up by eccentric and probably mentally diseased parents who end up homeless and the girl's ability to triumph in spite of it all. It's nice to know that our society makes it possible for this success story to happen, though, more often than not, people like Jeanette fall though the cracks.

Like many of you, I was so upset when I discovered the mother had all that land.

I would highly recommend this book.
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Post Number:#11  Postby Annada » 09 Jun 2011, 04:12

A million bucks would go quickly without a steady income.
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Post Number:#12  Postby Alicia Allen » 17 Jun 2011, 02:54

This book inspired me a lot to stay optimistic and to plan for a better future inspite all the difficulties of life.
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Post Number:#13  Postby Angeljaky » 27 Jul 2011, 04:16

Jeannette Walls is the author and protagonist. She is the second-eldest daughter in a family of four children. Her self-absorbed and clown-like yet highly intelligent father and mother are arguably mentally ill in their refusal to live by any of society’s norms, a choice which renders them unable to adequately provide for Jeannette and their other three children. Jeannette is strongly characterized by her ability to love and forgive others while also learning from their mistakes, however during the first chapter of the book Jeannette chooses to ignore her homeless mother, prompting the flashback which reveals the complexity of their difficult relationship through-out Jeannette's childhood. Jeannette chooses to remain optimistic and maintains a positive view of her life and the people around her. Jeannette often felt less sympathy for her mother, preferring to view her father as an unusual sort of hero despite the countless times his selfish actions hurt their family. Jeannette forgives her father in the end and ultimately finds forgiveness for her mother as well.
Rex Walls is Jeannette's father and the founder of the idea "The Glass Castle". Rex intends to build a glass castle for his family of six with the money he is convinced that he would receive upon finding gold. He refuses to abide by even the most basic of society's rules and instead chooses to live selfishly, guided by his exaggerated and unrealistic dreams. Rex is portrayed as exhibiting many signs of mental illness and alcoholism; he is very intelligent but not in any tangible way, he is an "excitement addict", he is constantly shirking his responsibilities, he makes promises that he doesn't keep, he seems to have an over-inflated sense of self, he continually (consciously or subconsciously) sabotages many positive developments in his life or the life of his family, he has extreme difficulty in adequately providing for his family despite his professed desire to do so. The reader is given insight into a possible contributing factor of Rex's dysfunctional behavior when it is revealed that his mother Erma had tried to abuse Rex's son Brian by touching him inappropriately, indicating the potential extent of the cruelty his mother had shown toward Rex as a child. Despite all of his shortcomings, Rex manages to keep his children healthy, get them a quality education, and he brings his children great joy by "giving" them unrealistic presents, such as a star in the sky. He never abuses his children (although depriving his dependents of their basic needs is arguably abusive) and he always keeps their hope alive. He is portrayed by his daughter Jeannette as a very charismatic man who is deserving of her frustration but also of her sympathy as she attempts to understand him.
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Re: The Glass Castle ~ Whole Book, Final Discussion

Post Number:#14  Postby JuliannaSilva » 19 May 2014, 09:54

While the way the parents took care of their children was irresponsible, yet it didn't prevent me from getting attached to them. They clearly loved their children very much, and the death of Jeannette's father was very upsetting. His dream of building them a castle made of glass was never realized, which broke my heart as unrealistic as it was.
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Re: The Glass Castle ~ Whole Book, Final Discussion

Post Number:#15  Postby sammi8764 » 23 May 2014, 15:17

For me, I couldn't stand their parents. I just could not understand how anyone would think the way they were living was okay. It just doesn't seem real to me. I can't say much for Jeannette, but if i had her life, I'm not sure I could ever forget my childhood. If I were her, I probably would have run away. You could tell her parents loved her and her siblings, but they obviously weren't right in the head and the children should have been taken away. The whole experience would have really shaken me, and I'm not sure how emotionally stable I'd be.
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