The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls

2 Stars

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While some David Sedaris style humor wouldn’t have been misplaced in The Glass Castle, I did understand and expect that this would be a serious memoir of abuse. Despite my rating, I admire how Walls tells a story of alcoholism and mental illness with love. Though the story’s matriarch seems to be a case for forced sterilization, The Glass Castle is uniquely written in such a way that it’s unlikely she would pick up on the implications within them, were she to read it. I respect that the author wasn’t willing to hurt her mother, no matter who she was. However, while this book lacked Sedaris’s dark humor, it did mimic his anecdotal writing style and it just… didn’t work.

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I’ve read dysfunctional memoirs, humorous memoirs, and dysfunctionally humorous memoirs. While the latter two can be told in Walls’s campfire style of individual stories, the former works much better as one cohesive tale. The problem with The Glass Castle is that it’s so deeply depressing, you don’t want to read the next woeful childhood drama; and you don’t need to, because the last one was wrapped up so neatly. Where Jenny Lawson kept me engaged, because I couldn’t wait to read more about her ridiculous shenanigans, Walls made me want to pick up some paranormal romance and escape this horrible and bleak world for some alien sexy times. The story wasn’t bad. The writing wasn’t bad. Thank heavens the ending wasn’t bad, because it was tough to get to it.

Review Word Count: 250

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