The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
I could not put this memoir down; this woman’s childhood was fascinating. That three out of four kids turned out so well (it’s an annoying mystery that we don’t find out how the fourth one is doing) despite their underprivileged upbringing says everything about the value of hard work. In the same way that my parents were smokers and neither my brother nor I will touch cigarettes, it seems like the author’s parents succeeded in being horrible warnings where they couldn’t be good examples.
A memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.
The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless eve as their children prospered.