October - Discussion of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wall

  • October 28, 2013 · 7:00 PM
  • Private

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town—and the family—Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to MSNBC.com, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.

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  • Lisa C.

    It was a fun night despite the not-so-uplifting book, lol!

    October 29, 2013

  • Linda

    Great discussion, great conversation and lots of laughs!!

    October 28, 2013

  • Camille M. K.

    I finished the book, a difficult subject to read about. This story gives a birds eye view into alcoholism and enabling. I trust that these two topics are not assumed to be related to poverty. Alcoholism, and Enabling are not prejudiced by race, income, or nationality. The book is well written.

    I am wondering Alyson if the questions to be discussed at the meeting could be posted to those not attending? This would allow us to post our discussion although we are absent.

    Talk Soon,
    Camille M. Korody

    October 27, 2013

  • Julie

    Sorry, can't make it now - bad cold :(

    October 27, 2013

    • Alyson

      Oh, sorry to hear that. I hope you feel better soon.

      October 28, 2013

  • Camille M. K.

    My apologies, I am unable to attend. Although the book is capturing my attention, I am not really enjoying the story. I loved "Let's Pretend this Didn't Happen" more. I have struggled to get through the book, alcoholism and homelessness are harsh, sad realities.

    October 23, 2013

  • Diane T.

    Sorry, I'm unable to make this session. See you in November!

    October 22, 2013

  • Galina

    Hi ladies! I am not able to borrow a book from a library - I am fourth in a waiting list.It seems that the book is in a great demand! Can someone lend me the book? Text me[masked] and I'll pick it up.Thanks. Galina

    October 12, 2013

  • Stacey

    I won't be able to make the meet ups for a couple months, I'm taking yoga on Monday nights at 7 for 10 weeks. Sorry! I'll be back in the New Year :)

    October 11, 2013

  • Linda

    Finished the book and enjoyed it and truly appreciate in door plumbing. Looking forward to the discussion.

    1 · October 11, 2013

  • Alyson

    How is everyone liking the book so far? I haven't started it yet, but after reading some articles about it, I'm excited to do so.

    October 11, 2013

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