“Life is a drama full of tragedy and comedy. You should learn to enjoy the comic episodes a little more.”
And I surely enjoyed the comic that comes handy in here.
Truth, this is the best memoir I’ve read my entire life. Jeannette Walls takes a reader through her life story that was coupled with a lot of challenges but she does not leave a reader with the “woiye” (pity) effect when she tells about those leather shoes she bought for fifty cents that were held together by safety pins and had to be blackened by a magic marker; nor how she used magic markers to make colored blotches on her legs so that they would camouflage the holes in her pants so others couldn’t notice since sewing them only made it worse. Instead, she has a way of letting it out in a funny way. I found myself laughing throughout those pages.
She brings out the family element in a clear way, whereby no matter what others said about them, their bond grew stronger. Sharing what they hunted through trash cans, standing up for one another like helping their mother put her notes together when she was employed as a teacher in Lori’s school so that she couldn’t be sacked. More so, their father lights up the entire reading with his nigga slang and despite been a drunk, he had time to teach his kids the aspects of life whenever they moved to and always supported their ambitions. He was the realest father ever who was an atheist and Sundays never came any better as they had to be hauled out of church severally with his critiques. Take for instance the Mary getting pregnant with Jesus scenario and the only advice he gave to Mountain Goat (Jeannette) was “baby girl, if your boyfriend ever gets into your panties and you find yourself in a family way, swear that it was Immaculate Conception and start mouthing off about miracles.” Funny right, hehehehe.
First things first, her family left for the desert in such of gold since her father fancied building a glass castle for his family. A drunk, (who in the first place should have done a research on liver’s capacity to absorb alcohol), a geologist, engineer, electrician, Mr. Walls was a jack of all trades but it was his drunkenness that drove his family to pity. Skedaddle from the desert, Welch and finally to New York, life was not easy and the numerous moving around to build this castle told it so.
Not that they didn’t have it all. In fact when their grandmother died and left all the inheritance shared between Jeannette mother and her brother, they inherited quite a goldmine. With a house to them, a land in Texas where the oil company was paying them in order to drill oil and what was left behind as a land worth millions when their uncle died, they could have had it all but NO, their mother opted for a scavenging life. Their father on the other hand loved his booze and every penny was squandered on it not minding what his family would have.
Her mother was an artist always drawing but she never sold her pieces but opted to hang them on walls. She was lucky though to get a job as a teacher but since her passion was in art she quit, disappointing her children as they thought she would rescue them of what seemed like a cactus life. Not even the numerous cries from her children to leave their father made her leave her side and instead hit them up with strong words like “everyone has something good about them. You have to find the redeeming quality and love the person for that.”
School life wasn’t easy either as Jeannette and her siblings Lori, Brian and Maureen were always the talk of schools with their rugged attires to scavenging what was left behind in bins for lunch. Despite all this, they were the genius minds. Jeannette was on many occasions an editor in school magazines which took her to higher heights when she went to NY to savior her family’s misery.
In NY when everyone was trying to make it, their parents came over but still they opted for the streets, made abandoned falling houses their own, slept on street benches, looked out for charity food centers to have their fill and no matter how many times their children hosted them, they always ruined it or refuted the offers and it was here their father met his death leaving his wife as a squatter.
How the happy ending unfolds and more to cracking up only grabbing a copy of this book will do but one thing for sure, the glass castle never came to being.