Monday, November 6, 2017

Book to Movie: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Title: The Glass Castle
Author: Jeannette Walls
Format: Book and DVD/ Blu-Ray
Publisher: Scribner
Publish Date: March 2005 (The movie is out on Blu-Ray now!)
Source: Borrowed the book/ Movie courtesy of the PR

What's the Story?:

From "Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home."

My Two Cents:

"The Glass Castle" is a memoir by Jeannette Walls, a well-known journalist. Her upbringing was anything but glamorous. Her parents moved her and her three siblings from place to place. They'd finally land somewhere where they think they could make a real home for themselves only to have the money run out, Jeannette's father lost his job, or some other calamity that would mean having to steal away into the night in order to not get caught. When they did find someplace to live, there was always something essential missing even when the Walls' parents had big dreams for a place, including Jeannette's father's ultimate dream of the Glass Castle.

I really like stories about dysfunctional families. I'm not sure if it is because I had a wonderfully warm upbringing within a tight knit family, that the contrast is what attracts me. I do know that I am in awe of people like Jeannette Walls. She is so resilient. Human resilience is the reason that I am always so drawn to stories of dysfunctional families. People can go through such amazingly tough things throughout life and still be okay. Walls is definitely one of those people. Eventually when she grows up and finally leaves home, she finally feels like she can have nice things and do nice things for herself. Even with these choices, she still keeps in touch with her parents even as she finds them living in the underbelly of NYC, squatting and dumpster diving for food.

The book was often hard to read because of some of the scenes that were described. The movie felt a little bit easier to swallow. Perhaps it was because I already knew what happened but I do think that Walls' words really did make things feel a bit worse. She has a way with descriptions! The movie has stars like Brie Larson as Jeannette and Woody Harrelson (he was really wonderful in this movie) and played Mr. Walls' brilliance mixed with an addictive personality so well.

As always, I suggest reading the book before watching the movie but you can't go wrong with either!



  1. I read this book several years ago with my book club, and I really didn't like it much. But I had a friend who felt the book reflected her life and she liked if very much. I personally liked the author's book based on the life of her grandmother, Half-Broke Horsed, much better!

  2. Sounds like a sad story but the movie must be dramatic.


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