Book of the Year – ‘The Glass Castle’

One of the few benefits of being a perpetual traveller is the fact that I get to catch up on my reading during my trips. I accumulate various technical journals which I lug with me, eventually discarding, as well as books. Last mission I finished ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ by Hemingway and for this mission my friend Genie suggested ‘The Glass Castle’ and went as far as lending me her copy. I’m glad she did, as it is the best book I’ve read this year, or probably the last several years.

It is a memoire of Jeannette Walls who had the most dysfunctional childhood one could imagine. That’s wrong – it was worse than you ever dream of. With an alcoholic father—who was brilliant, reading chaos theory and physics for interest’s sake—and an artist for a mother who couldn’t cope with any form of domesticity, from an early age the four children had to look after themselves, even as far as getting food. It is an amazing story of perseverance and hardship, and how the children supported each other and managed to pull through it all. Disturbing and yet inspiring, I could not put it down. I wrote to Genie complaining, in a positive way, that she had taken up my entire day with this book. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

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