Sunday, August 29, 2010

Glass Castle

My best read this summer has been The Glass Castle by Jeanette Wall. I heard about this book yeas ago from my voracious reading friend Pat Hackett. She told me of the opening pages where a woman is riding in a cab down Park Avenue and sees her mother digging through a trash can foraging for food. Having lived in NY for many years, I could easily visualize the scene and feared that this book would be incredibly depressing. In fact, I found it to be very funny at times and a true tribute to the tenacity of the human spirit. It's also a story about the choices that people make, although it's hard to believe that Jeanette's mother chose to live the way she did without suffering from some type of mental illness--and to choose to subject her children to unsafe, unsanitary and downright bizarre living conditions is unfathomable. At points I found the description of the way that Jeanette was raised to go on too long--it reminded me a bit of my reaction to Augusten Burroughs' Running with Scissors--interesting but a bit wearing over time given its lack of relation (happily!) to my own upbringing.

My enjoyment of this book was enhanced a bit by the fact that I borrowed it from the South Shore Bookmobile and had an opportunity to talk with people there about it. The librarian shared that people's reactions to the book really vary--some find it totally depressing and others find it uplifting. I look forward to sharing this book in the Fall at a reading group in Punta Gorda.

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