“Everyone has something good about them, you have to find the redeeming quality and love the person for that.” – Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle
This book was phenomenal. Jeannette’s memoir of her nomadic childhood spent with her free-spirited mother and her alcoholic father truly captures what it is like to be the child of an addict. Of all her siblings, Jeannette is her fathers greatest defender. She keeps faith in his ability to change even though he lets her down time and time again. Jeannette shows the complications of loving an addict, as she is able to see her father’s good qualities that are often over shadowed by his illness. Her father is depicted as an intelligent man with an unconventional parenting style that allows his children to learn about life by living it. However, his addiction causes him to become violent towards his wife and neglectful towards his children, frequently spending the family’s rent and food money at the local bars. As soon as the family came into any kind of money, the father would spend it on booze rather than use it to feed his children. He does little to provide stability for his children, moving them from place to place when the bill collectors get too close.
Jeannette’s father’s addiction and her mother’s unwillingness to hold down a “normal” job hurls the family into poverty. When the family finally settles down in the West Virginia, Jeannette describes how she was ostracized by her peers due to her father’s addiction, her family’s dilapidated house, and extreme poverty. As the wife of an addict, I found Jeannette’s story very relatable. It truly shined a light on the social, financial, and emotional struggles of living life with an addict. Jeannette’s memoir showed that it is possible to love an addict for who they are underneath their addiction. Additionally, it shows the struggle of being chained to and dependent upon someone who always puts their addiction above their personal relationships and obligations. The Glass Castle explored some of the lesser known issues surrounding addiction, like the social implications of being the child of an addict. Being close to or dependent upon someone with an addiction can often cause one to feel isolated and cut off from their peers. It also often throws individuals into a type of lifestyle that others may see as odd, chaotic, or unconventional. This novel conveys Jeannette’s story while allowing the reader to experience what life is like with an addict. It is definitely a must read!
Next Up: “She’s Come Undone” By Wally Lamb 🎭
Aside from Woody Harrelson’s performance as Rex Wallls, this movie was a MAJOR disappointment for me. Maybe I would have liked it more if I had watched it before reading the book, but as it is, the movie left much to be desired. This movie eliminated almost the entire first half of the book where Jeannette and her family live a nomadic life out west. I felt that this part of Jeannette’s life was important because it signified a time where the family was mostly happy and were able to live free and wild.
This movie seemed to focus a lot on Rex and his shenanigan’s rather than focusing on the effect that his addiction had on his family. The movie didn’t explore any of Jeannette’s social relationships and did not show the bullying and ostracization that she and her siblings had to endure in West Virginia. Though the movie did depict the Walls family as poor, it glazed over some of the major details that made life so difficult for them, like the outhouse the family had to walk to to use the bathroom, the hole in the ceiling, and the bathroom bucket in the kitchen that the family members had to use. I felt that this movie did not focus enough on Jannette and her siblings. In fact, Jeannette’s siblings were seldomly featured as individuals.
Overall, I thought that this movie was a waste of time. If you can only pick one, definitely read the book. If your going to explore both, watch the movie before reading the book so you will be less disappointed.
Have you read this book? If so, what did you think about it? How did you like the movie? I would love to hear from you in the comment section below. If you enjoyed this post, please shoot me a like, comment, or follow.
Love Always, AnxiouslyM