- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 25 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: September 28, 2010
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0044X4QEA
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Glass Castle: A Memoir Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
Jeanette did grow up and worked hard to become a very successful person...
On the plus side, the prose is far from difficult to read, and has good flow. It has a surprisingly upbeat feel to the writing in spite of the subject matter, which is of 4 small children being raised by extremely negligent and sometimes abusive parents. The dad is an alcoholic, with delusions of grandeur and is possibly bipolar. The mom is more atypical in her psychoses. She seems cold-heartedly selfish to the point of disbelief. She is a narcissistic hoarder who will not willingly part with anything, even selling an unused property in Phoenix to help keep her kids from starving. The mom actually has a lot of material wealth through inheritance, but she and her husband squander all liquid assets quickly and refuses to part with anything else. The mom gains weight while not providing food for her kids. At one point the kids find hidden candy bars that she was keeping to herself. This is while she is sending her kids to school with no lunches and they are eating partially consumed food out of trash cans. Jeannette admits she was closer to her father, so maybe that is why he comes off a little more sympathetic than the mom. At least he seems to have moments of true feeling for his kids, though his behavior is often equally outrageous (coming close to acting as a pimp for his daughter out at one point). This family was extremely unfortunate to have not one, but two extremely dysfunctional parents. There is a particularly moving scene when the oldest daughter gets glasses that made me get a little teary-eyed and especially angry towards the selfish parents. I really did enjoy this book overall, and feel it did express the exasperation and disbelief that accompanies having a family member (or two) with mental illness.
The book's weakest point is that the stories don't always ring true. How does Jeannette remember so much detail from when she was three? Were there ATMs in the 70's? Why is Jeannette not more bitter towards her parents? How has this bad upbringing affected her negatively as well as positively? Also, some more detail is wanted to fill in some of the gaps in the stories. The youngest daughter is unable to live a functional life. This is not explored very much. None of the girl children went on to have children of their own. Jeannette eventually goes to a prestigious college but glosses over how it was financed. There is supposedly a wealthy uncle out there (mom's brother) but he is only briefly even mentioned. The family never approaches him for help though they mooch off of other, less affluent family. Also, though the novel is lighthearted, this minimizes the horror that should shine through in the story more. Sometimes Jeannette comes across as glib in how she interprets these awful memories from her childhood.
Anyways, I recommend reading this book as it is an interesting portrayal of an interesting life. It could use more depth, but there is something to be said for such a novel not being a total pity party too.