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The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls Essay

I recently read the book, “The Glass Castle,” by Jeannette Walls, which is a short novel in the form of a memoir. She is famous for both “The Glass Castle,” but also wrote another best seller, “Half Broke Horses.” I would give this book a positive rating, and also deem it one of the best books I have read so far. Walls kept juggling many themes, kept the book lively at all times, and keep all aspects of her novel true.

The plot had a very fast pace, and beautifully illustrated the pains she and her sibling went through, as poverty stricken children, with an alcoholic dad and a dysfunctional mom. Always on the lookout to find a way to make easy money, Rex Wells (Jeannette’s father) constantly uproots the family, to start “new.” Their family is portrayed as a carefree family but throughout the novel different problems submerge, shaking the family bond more and more each time. Chapter by chapter, I found myself captivated by their endless finical problems but also by their light-hearted output on life. The Wall family faced both high and low points, ranging from living under the open sky, to eating garbage out of the trash in school.

Developed characters are essential to all good pieces of literature, and this memoir was no exception. The characters were all very well developed but most were very dynamic, and not consistent. Two of the best examples of this are Rex, and her portraying herself over the years. Rex was illustrated as a creative man when sober, and the title of the books comes from his childhood promise to her, that when they “struck it rich,” they would be living in a “glass castle.”

This book was age appropriate, and had a range of vocabulary, and the language was easy to understand. Once in a while she’d go into lengthy detail about scenery, but I believe it really added to the book in the end. This novel was easy to understand, and her phenomenal memoir was amazing to read.

“The Glass Castle” was easily one of the best novels I have read in a while, and I would recommend this to any mature reader, because some parts may be a little vulgar for a younger audience.


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