The Glass Castle

The world is full of all sorts of people. Not all of them are good or have righteous intentions. Sometimes those people have children and fill our world with more of the kind of people they are. Other times, goodness comes from brokenness.

There really can be….beauty from ashes.

For the last week, I've been immersed in the world of author Jeannette Walls as she tells the story of her growing up years in The Glass Castle. The book is so well written and her story is absolutely mind blowing! Everytime I picked it up to read, I felt as though I were driving past a horrible accident on the highway that I just couldn't stop looking at.

Her story wasn't one of physical abuse or even sexual assault it was full on neglect. I picked up very quickly that mental illness was a major role player in her mother's behavior. Never in the book does she confirm or deny that possibility but the rollercoaster of choices and behaviors make it pretty clear this lady was not in her right mind. While she wasn't a cruel mother…she was so clearly checked out and wrapped up within her own happiness and self that mental illness is the only way to describe the horror that she allowed her children to endure.

Mother: a person who dies to self. One who goes without so her children can have. A nurturer. Compassionate and caring to the needs of her babies.

Jeannette had an especially close relationship with her father. He was smart and manipulative but his real love was alcohol. Even if it cost he and his family everything which it did, he drank. It never bothered him that his children didn't have food, clothes or a roof over their heads…his desire for alcohol was his main concern. A man who doesn't work and takes money that isn't his (he literally stole from his own kids) to me isn't really a man. He's a coward and a thief! He, along with his mentally disturbed wife had 4 kids. Both of them were intelligent but checked out, both had potential but were never moved enough to act on it (SELF mattered way too much to both of them) both of them were blessed with loving and precious kids but because of the pathetic people they were….their story is really one of survival.

I admit I felt rather angry during much of the book. As a mother, it isn't that hard to love your kids. These people were so consumed with their own wants and needs that they literally allowed their kids to go hungry and to live in squalor every day of their lives. I found myself wondering why someone didn't take them out of their hell. How in the world did they not get taken away? Or sexually abused? Or murdered? Danger was everywhere all around them as they RAISED THEMSELVES and tried to be the parents to the sorry parents that they called their own.

The story does have a happy ending and it's a great reminder to us all that life isn't always a bowl of cherries. Families struggle, some people are walking wounded and everyone is fighting some sort of battle. If you haven't read The Glass Castle…do it. It's a story of survival of the most pathetic kind, neglect.


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