The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

Jeanette Walls is amazing, actually amazing is an inadequate description of her writing – but magical, mind blowing and oh my god how did she write this, doesn’t do the novel justice either.

A Glass Castle is a memoir detailing the Walls family. Rex Walls loves his kids. He teaches them how to survive in the wilderness, to dream big and to be tough. When money is tight one Christmas, he gifts his children with the stars. His maddening love for his children is only eclipsed by his love of the bottle. Mary Walls is an artist. She teaches her kids that the only boundaries in life are the ones you create yourself and that being an adult, a mother, is really a matter of choice not a responsibility. Together, Rex and Mary Walls create squalor conditions for their four children. As a result, the Walls live a nomad life; they travel from one city to the next, sleeping in their car and skipping meals when they can’t afford anything to eat. Jeanette chronicles the life of her family as they fight to stay together but grow apart at the same time.

A Glass Castle is not your typical story of survival and resilience, it’s a story about love as well. When I first picked up the novel and read the synopsis I thought to myself, she must really hate her parents. I assumed that the memoir would be a breakdown of her parents’ shortcomings and how she overcame the adversity in her life but it really was nothing like that. Despite the hard life that the Walls lived, Jeanette loved her parents. Yes, they lived an unconventional life, no they never received the best of everything but they still survived. The only thing they ever had to give was each other and that turned out to be enough. 

A Glass Castle is not a story of a scarred woman, it’s a story of a resilient woman who loves her family and shared their unconventional love and life through the best way she can – a story.

A blurb about change 

Next week I’ll be leaving an office that I have been a part of for just shy of three years and it’s left me feeling slightly unhinged. 

I started at CP when I was a student. I was driven, hungry, ambitious and I wanted more. I found myself doing presentations and research, always trying to be one step ahead of the game. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was taking the first steps into becoming the woman I am today. I also didn’t realize that it was the people that I worked with who drove me, inspired me and changed me.

This office shaped me; the people, the work, it made me want to be something more. I found myself here, I found my passion for books, for writing, for language, for dedication and the need to live a life unencumbered by stress that didn’t matter. It’s funny because the job itself had nothing to do with any of these things and yet they are what I learned the most.

I shared milestones with these people; graduation, marriage and now I am moving on. I feel woefully unprepared to leave my extended family. I think that probably on my last day, when the clock hits three, I’ll be sitting in the parking lot trying to take it all in. The last time I’ll leave the office, the last time I’ll be one of them.

It’s a short coming humans have, we care too much. The caring brings us down and we often make decisions based on the heart rather then the head. If life were different, I would have stayed at CP forever but sometimes change is the kick in the ass we all need.

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

Hannah
Emmeline
Grace

Hannah and Emmeline are sisters. When their brother David dies in the war they lose a childhood that never had a chance to begin.

Grace has been a maid at Riverton manor for only a short time when she meets the Hartford sisters. An only child to a husband less mother she has always longed for sisters. The big house on the hill offers her the companionship she always wanted but something more as well – answers.

Years have passed and Grace is now an old woman wavering at deaths door. She has a secret and she needs to tell someone before she goes. Riverton manor was her home for many years, Hannah like a sister but then the death of the poet, Robbie Hunter caused a rift that couldn’t be fixed.

Now, a young filmmaker wants to tell the story of the Hartford sisters, of Grace and what happened the night when Robbie died but often the past is more complicated then we think and the truth more painful then we care to know.

Where do I even begin with The House at Riverton. It was beautiful in the way that all books of this era are. Naivety of the war, shock at the death of so many and the ways in which people tried to pick up the pieces, there’s a romance to this genre because people were so full of hope and let down so quickly.

Grace is an insightful and honest narrator. I enjoyed hearing the story from the point of view of someone who is looking back on her life rather then living it in the moment. Hindsight is a great gift in storytelling I think, it makes the story all the more honest because you can see what went wrong and why.

I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to settle into a good read, a story with twists and turns and a whole lot of heartbreak.