Book club’s compelling read a must

Each month the Two Wells Book Club will bring you a review of the book that had been read by the group the previous month.

The book club meets once a month at the Two Wells Library.

We hope you enjoy the segment and are provided with an opportunity to engage with some books that you might never have thought to pick up and read.

This month’s book is ‘The Glass Castle’ by Jeannette Walls.

Book Club members found this month’s book The Glass Castle a compelling, yet easy read.

Walls tells of her experience growing up in a loving, although extremely dysfunctional, family environment.

Her parents, Rex and Rose Mary Walls held ideals and a negative attitude towards conformity that was both their curse and their salvation.

In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains.

Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly.

Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an ‘excitement addict.’

Cooking a meal that would be consumed in 15 minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

Walls’ complex and conflicting thoughts about her parents and childhood are apparent throughout; when she’s writing about her youth, she writes with the rose-tinted glasses of a young girl who loves her family, yet as she grows she begins to see the shadows of reality creeping in – her father’s alcoholism, her mother’s selfish behaviour, the lack of food in the cupboards as a parental failure and not a normality.

As the dysfunction of the family escalates, Jeannette and her brother and sisters have to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weather their parents’ betrayals and, finally, find the resources and will to leave home.

Some members found the experience of the children sad and depressing, feeling resentment towards the mother and father, however noted the author was quite honouring in the way she wrote about her family, in that it was not judgemental and interspersed with humour.

This led some members to comment the author was too factual in her recount, being devoid of emotion, leaving the reader to come to their own judgement of the characters.

However readers experienced the book, the discussion held was interesting and lively, each member reflecting on their own experiences growing up, and considered how this may reflect upon an individual in adulthood. Next month’s book is ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ by Celeste Ng.

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