Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"The Glass Castle"

Every person that works in the social work or psychology field should read this book. It's a beautifully written account of how perspective matters. In "The Glass Castle", Jeannette Walls recounts her early life and what it was like growing up with her family. Walls tells tales about herself that would make most readers cringe.

Her father was an alcoholic, her mother was barely qualified to take care of herself let alone others, and both parents likely had one or more diagnosable mental disorders. The resulting chaos & instability that occurred in this household was at the very least neglectful if not abusive. I mentioned perspective because the story is told by Walls herself and this gives the reader a more intimate view of each instance she describes. It is easier to understand that neither of her parents wanted any harm to come to any of their children, in fact they loved them very much. I do not say this to excuse their behavior but to illustrate a fact that people in the psych & social work fields see all the time: family dynamics are always more complicated than they seem from the outside.

What I love most about this book was the way Walls perfectly portrays the gradual change in how a child sees their parents. There isn't one moment where a person sees their parent as a human being with flaws, there are many. These moments happen slowly over time as people become more in touch with the rest of the world. Walls shows us those moments in her own life, beginning with herself as a young child thinking her parents are larger than life, super heros almost. By the end of the book she realizes that her parents are not intentionally creating these situations they are just unable to care for their family and do not have the motivation to make changes.

The Glass Castle draws from the reader so many different reactions laughter, sadness, concern. The life of Jeanette Walls is an absolute inspiration and a true testament to the resilience of human beings. This is definitely a must read!

No comments:

Post a Comment