Jeannette Walls Message Board
Donna Nelson posts on 3/26/2008 9:45:37 AM
Dear Jeannette Walls,
I am almost through you book and can barely put it down. I have found myself feeling such despair and such hope. I am an illustrator and I would be very interested to see your sister Lori's work. Is it posted on a site somewhere? My own search didn't find it. Thanks for such a beautifully written book. It shall be on my short list of favorites.
Missy posts on 3/23/2008 8:55:17 PM
Jeez, Karen Manning, lighten up a little. I agree with most of the things you said, but come on. Your parents are your parents. Of course her parents were crazy, but it doesn't mean she has to walk around hating them and freaking out about it for the rest of her life. Choosing to look at things in a different light is not necessarily denial. She took the cards she was dealt and made the best out of it, and tried to see anything good in her parents. Who wouldn't want to see something good in their parents? Everyone deals with things in their own way. Also, just because she chose to write a book about her life doesn't mean she has to divulge every feeling or bad thought she's had about her parents to every interviewer that comes along. She's only human, and who wants to admit their parents are complete whackos?
All that stuff aside, this was the best book I have ever read, and I read a lot of books. Thank you so much to Jeanette Walls for this unbelievable and touching memoir.
Marcy Uphoff posts on 3/6/2008 11:26:15 AM
I loved this book! It will always be one of my favorites! Please write another one!
Karen Manning posts on 2/28/2008 11:25:41 PM
I don't know where to begin I have so many thoughts about this book. All through the book, I had to keep reminding myself that it was not fiction. I could not believe the behavior of the parents. It was child neglect, plain and simple. Yet I keep reading others perceptions of the memoir and how they thought her parents were so loving and great, especially the mother. Were we reading the same book? One person said "To deny her kids food, shelter and safety when she could have pawned the diamond ring, or sold the property she owned. I wondered if she was crazy. The only time I didn't like her at all was when she gave you the backhanded compliment about not being the pretty or smart one but the one who was hard working." Really? That was the only time you didn't like her? How about when she put on weight while her kids starved? Remember the candy bar? Buying art supplies and not food? How about leaving the home they owned to go live in a hut? And mom was too crazy to sell or rent the house out to get money. Just simply abandoned it. The land she owned, she could have sold, and the jewelry.
Her unwillingness to get off her butt and work to provide for her children, most of the time.
Also, I have seen Jeanette in two interviews where she just seems to gloss over everything and down play how crazy her mother was/is and the fact that her father was a worthless alcoholic that could not hold down a job for long. She said the reason they were homeless was that her parents followed their "dreams" instead of leading a conventional life. That is denial. She also said the reason the Glass Castle never got built was that alcoholism "and a few other things" got in the way, said with a smile. Are you serious? Her parents were crazy,as in mental problems. Why does she downplay this?
In one interview, she said the Glass Castle could be looked at as another drunken promise by her father or as hope for the future. It is however you want to see it. Again, denial. I couldn't bleive she said that. When asked if she thought her mother had mental issues, she said I don't know, she has never been diagnosed with any. That was avoidance of the question and YES of course her mother has mental problems.
On another note, I found it to be unbelievable that she found a TWO carot diamond ring in the woods of a POOR mining town. Who was walking around there with that kind of money? She wondered if it belonged to the woman who had previously lived in the house. Really? A woman who lived in a leaking shack with no water had an expensive ring like that? And I have to say, it was extremely selfish of her mother to refuse to sell the ring and get food and clothes for her children. Jeanette has also said she never remembers her mother trying to get her father to stop drinking and admits her mother liked all the drama and turmoil.
To be forgiving is one thing, but one has to wonder if Jeanette has come out of denial enough to see all the things her parents did. Unless she has a full realization, she can't have forgiven them. You can't fogive someone for what you haven't admitted they have done. She seems to have an adoration of her father that was never deserved. She worshipped him. Still looks all dreamy eyed when she speaks of him. He bought booze, cigarettes and gambled away the money instead of providing for his family. He stayed away from home, who knows where? Whorehouses, was aluded to once in the book. Both parents fed lines of bull to these children, trying to make an adventure and game out of things when they had no food or home. It was a con game the kids fell for, and others who read the book want to praise the parents for the lessons and all the love. You might notice that all the things the parents were "opposed" to, were things that cost money. And the money they wanted for booze,and art supplies. Selfish is what they were. They weren't teaching those kids any lessons. Lori needed glasses. Mom was opposed for a nonsense reason...until the school paid for the glasses. Then that was ok. They were opposed to the hospitals and healthcare, because it cost money. That's why they went from town to town. They skipped out on the rent and bills. It wasn't an adventure. That's just what they told the kids.
All the while, convincing the kids that sleeping in the desert, and being poor was somehow an advantage other kids didn't have.
Sandra (Hedin) Nichols posts on 2/7/2008 8:42:07 PM
Jeannette, I haven't read your book yet,but my girlfriend just called me and, knowing my childhood history, told my about your book. You see I believe our paths too have crossed. I was born in Midland CA in 1958 and lived there until they closed the town down in 1967. I believe I have pictures of Lori Walls in with my class pictures. I have to go back and do some digging. There were 8 kids in our family and so we spanned a pretty big time frame. The Midlandites have been having town reunions for the past few years and would love to have you join. Sandra(Hedin)Nichols
Shirley Cleaver posts on 1/29/2008 7:19:29 PM
I read you book and really enjoyed it. You're an excellent writer and conveyed your story very well.
Your father, Rex Walls, was my first cousin. Aunt Erma, your grandmother, was my father's sister. We also lived on Little Hobart Street just a couple of houses from your Mom and Dad when they lived there. We never saw much of Rex or your Mother. I just remember they made a very handsome couple. They pretty much kept to themselves. I know I always favored Rex over his brother Stanley. Stanley was always doing mean things and Rex was always such a nice man. Daddy never let us spend much time at Aunt Erma and Uncle Ted's house because they drank so much. I was very disturbed by the things that you said happened to you there. Just wanted to say I'm sorry that you had to experience the childhood you did. I'm glad you were able to ovcome it and make a nice life for yourself. I grew up very poor myself, but managed to escape and become very successful too. I live on four acres down by the Chesapeake Bay, so totally removed from the small shack I grew up in. Running water, flushing toilets, and, oh yes, electricity, have become my favorite things! Just goes to show, we Welch girls, with a little help from our mentors, are tough to beat! By the way, Ms Bivens was one of my favorite teachers too - she was beautiful inside and out.
Dorothy posts on 1/25/2008 10:34:59 PM
To Jeanette Walls: Thank you for using the word "acceptance" as opposed to "forgiveness".
monica mills posts on 1/25/2008 6:56:20 PM
Wow, is all I can say about your life and how you all kept it knitted together in absolute unimaginable circumstances. The drive to make a better life for yourself and the family and to love them the way you do. You speak with love. Your story will always be with me and will make me appreciate all that I have.
Valerie Ryan posts on 12/8/2007 11:35:53 PM
I just finished reading your book The Glass Castle. I read the entire thing in 3 days....it was so good!! This book was so emotional for me - I was both upset and outraged by your childhood and the childhood of your brother and sisters. But it made you the people you all are today and gave you the strength to move to NYC at such a young age. Thank you for sharing your life.....I must say, I am so thoroughly impressed with what you had to endure along with where you are today. You have proven that a dhard, rough childhood does not completely define the person you will always be. I wonder what those kids that knew you back in Welch are thinking of you now!! Congratulations on finding a happy fulfilling life!!
stephanie posts on 11/7/2007 12:21:30 AM
i started a new job a few weeks ago and this book was on the counter. i looked at it and flipped thru it quickly. it was slow one night so i started to read it.. and ended up borrowing the book from work. i've had the book for a few days and i can't put it down! every time my eyes get so blurry that i have to put it down, i can't wait to go to bed to get up and read it tomorrow. being 21 and coming from a good background, this book has taught me so much. and it's so real that i honestly feel like i'm in your shoes. it's amazing and it's one of my favorite books.. i still have almost 100 pages to go..
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