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City Reads: The Glass Castle

January 11, 2018

I don’t read memoirs that often and I honestly think of celebrities or YouTube stars coming out with books where you question if there was an actual ghostwriter involved. But really, the genre brings out real and interesting stories. My friend lent me the book, “The Glass Castle,” the best-selling memoir by Jeanette Walls that recently came out with a movie starring Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, and Naomi Watts.


For two decades, gossip columnist Jeanette Walls hid about her childhood where she grew up with stubborn parents that once had the family live like nomads. Her family always moved around when her alcoholic father got in some sort of trouble and her mother, an artist, didn’t understand the responsibility of raising four children even after they settled in a West Virginia mining town. The problems in her family only escalated and Jeanette later reveals her own story in this incredible memoir.

But, this memoir doesn’t come off as most memoirs do with constant rambling from one story to the next. It reads as one smooth tale which makes you question if it’s a horrible fairytale at times. It’s very real though, based on the incredible detail the author goes into to have you understand her very dysfunctional family. The novel kicks off on how a three-year-old Jeanette was using the stove and dealt with the consequences of her neglective parents by causing herself to have serious burns. I felt anger, but then as the novel carried on and how crazy her parents were, there was a tone of unconditional love between the children and parents that carries out in any type of imperfect family.

If you’re looking to jump into the world of memoirs, start with this one. Her childhood is far from normal, but you can sense that quirky love everyone feels about their own bringing up. It might not be perfect on how you were raised and there’s still a sense of admiration you feel for your parents at a young age that impacts the rest of your life.

Favorite Quotes

  • “I lived in a world that at any moment could erupt into fire. It was the sort of knowledge that kept you on your toes.”
  • “Sometimes you need a little crisis to get your adrenaline flowing and help you realize your potential.”
  • “You should never hate anyone, even your worst enemies. Everyone has something good about them. You have to find the redeeming quality and love the person for that.”
  • “I wanted to let the world know that no one had a perfect life, that even the people who seemed to have it all had their secrets.”
  • “If you don’t want to sink, you better figure out how to swim.”

What to Read Next

  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou: The poet and civil rights activist’s debut novel captures her childhood in Arkansas in a journey where she begins as an insecure little girl and grows to become the strong woman we still look up to today.
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed: One young woman decides to hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in an adventure that ultimately helps heal her past troubles.
  • Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman: Based on the Netflix show of the same name, Piper was once a reckless woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money. Fast forward to ten years later with a career, boyfriend and loving family, she now must face the consequences when convicted and sentenced to 15 months in jail.

City Reads is a monthly series on Lost & Found in the City. Got any recommendations for next month’s book? Share your favorites in the comments below! 

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Author: Katina Beniaris

Born in Chicago, Katina has always been drawn to cities. She spent her college years in the heart of Chicago studying journalism and she travels to various cities every year for new experiences. When she’s not blogging, you can find her catching up on the latest pop culture sensation on Netflix.

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