The Glass Castle Book review

The characters in the novel “The Glass Castle” face different clashes as they continue to live in
desolation in the coal-dusted town of Welsh in West Virginia. They lived in an unfurnished
house which was in bad condition. This shows how financially unfortunate the family was. The
clashes they faced are essential in the novel as they symbolize the relationship each character had
with the other (Walls, 2006) . For instance, their mother, Rose Mary, was self-centered and had
no sense of responsibility. Their father, Rex, had a habit of drinking down his money at the
expense of his family. The children were left to fend for themselves as the parents were very
irresponsible. As a result, they grew up and became completely different, with each of them
desirous of a better life than the one their parents provided.

As the novel progresses, one is conscious of the love that exists between the characters. The
book goes to great lengths to demonstrate the importance of family. For instance, one can discern
that the characters developed a strong sense of togetherness that was brought about by the
misfortunes that they suffered together. Due to their irresponsible parents, Walls and her siblings
grew stronger both physically and mentally (Walls, 2006) . They became united in whatever they
did. They were always looking out for each other and protecting each other against all the odds.
Despite all the challenges faced by the characters, the author did well to bring out the uniqueness
of each character in the novel. The narrator, Walls, was the second oldest off the siblings. From
the book, one gets the ideology of Walls's resilience, which makes her very relatable (Walls,
2006) . Lori was the big sister who was interested in art and craft. She had an inherent dream to
move to New York City. This dream brightened the lives of her younger ones once they got on

Brian was the only boy in the family. He exhibited a pure form of love and support for his older
sisters before they left for the City. He was a very compassionate person. For example, we are told of how he slept underneath an inflatable air mattress for ten years to make sure that rain
never fell through the cracks on their ceiling (Walls, 2006) . As a result of his actions and polite
behavior towards his siblings, we see him become an excellent father and detective.
Maureen was the youngest of all the siblings and the prettiest of them all. She was a very social
person and thus ended up having a lot of friends. Most of her friends helped her escape her
household’s problems. However, she was not as resilient as her older sister Walls. She was also
not self-aware, and this resulted in her indulging in substance abuse later on in life (Walls, 2006) .
Walls' character was vital to demonstrate to the reader of her parents’ inadequacies as role
models and members of society. She also showed that her parents were loving and
compassionate individuals who just had their priorities wrong (Walls, 2006) . She accepted both
her parents the way they were without having any form of bitterness or hatred towards them.
Walls also established the intricacy that exists between love, life, and parenthood and through
that, it was established that one could not exist without the other.

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The book “The Glass Castles” resonates well with the theories that have been developed by Irene
Goldenberg in her book Family Therapies: An overview, 9 th Edition (Goldenberg, Stanton, &
Goldenberg, 2016) . In the book, she expounds on critical perspectives, values, and goals of
family therapy. She has also included information on how one can become an emphatic and
effective family therapist. For instance, in the novel, it is paramount to understand the childhood
the siblings faced to be a competent family therapist. The siblings had a rough childhood that
significantly contributed to the persons they became in their adult life. For example, as a
consequence of all the challenges Walls went through, she became more resilient and
independent and assumed more responsibilities at a younger age. Her family setting was not a
normal one. In an ordinary family, parents usually work hard to fend for their children. However, in the novel, it was vice versa. The mother never cared about providing for the family even though she was an educated teacher. She only got a job when the family was on the brink of starvation, and even as it was, she was not keen to keep the job. Their father was an irresponsible alcoholic who drank all his income. He did not care about his family. From the above, it can be discerned that an understanding of family history and the upbringing of a particular person is crucial in determining the kind of person they become.

In conclusion, the author has done a fantastic job in transforming a sad and tragic story into a
beautiful one. It brings out the notion that no one’s life is perfect. We can see that the siblings
experienced a complicated childhood and later experienced success in their adult lives.



Goldenberg, I., Stanton, M., & Goldenberg, H. (2016). Family Therapy: An Overview 9th
Edition. San Francisco: Cengage Learning.
Walls, J. (2006). The Glass Castle: A Memoir. West Virginia: Scribner; Reprint edition .