Thursday, 17 May 2007

Glass Castle

I just started reading The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls. It is quite an astonishing read. I am a bit hooked on it right now, with wild horses practically having to drag me away from it.

I must say, I was desperately trying to find something to read. I had started several books; The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, which I had been meaning to read for many years after a couple of recommendations. I was quite taken by the first part, it was very interesting to read about the women of biblical times and their experience with child bearing, but since it is written in the voice of Jacob's only daughter, Dinah, it lost me a bit when the focus moved on to Dinah's early childhood. When I am in the mood I will pick it up again and see where it goes from there.

I am still on and off with the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal is a hard slog, what more can I say, and I have been reading more of Memories, Dreams, Reflections by Carl Jung, as previously mentioned, and what a crazy bastard that guy was! Yeah, yeah Carl, we all know you were a genius and whatnot, but geez! It is yet another book I will have to read more of when I am in the mood. It is an extremely interesting read about the inner workings of a famous mind, who studied minds, motivations and behaviour, but I am not in the mood for it right now....another time Carl mate.... I promise.

I also started the The Resurrectionists by Michael Collins, but quite frankly, it did nothing for me. I didn't get far into it, and I am probably doing it an injustice by not seeing it through to the end, as I have read that the beginning is the weakest, but I did not find the dialogue between Frank and Honey overly convincing, and besides, I was really looking for something that gripped me from the first line and reverberated throughout the day (not too much to ask is it?).

Well, apparently not, because The Glass Castle managed to do just that. This is the opening sentence of the book and first chapter entitled "Woman on the Street":

"I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster".

The next couple of pages goes on to describe this well-to-do woman's homeless mother; the feelings she has about sighting her and her thwarted attempts to "help". The next chapter simply entitled "Desert" describes a truly remarkable and stunningly dysfunctional childhood.

I think the fact that this "woman on the street" was called Mom by the author, was what really shock me, freezing me in the moment, in such a way that I had to consider why, but so often, the homeless are the nameless, peripheral characters in a story. They are never someones Mom, and yet, in reality, many of them are mothers or fathers, or Grandparents.

There was a book a friend once lent me, about a homeless shelter in Calgary. I can't remember the name of it, but the book paid tribute to some of the homeless people who had spent time in that particular shelter, providing a background of information about these people and revealing the road that lead them to become homeless, as told in their own words. it was incredibly interesting and certainly provided a voice for many a homeless person.

Getting back to The Glass Castle...this book is a memoir of author Jeannette Wall's life. I haven't actually finished the book and therefore, should not be recommending a book that I have not yet finished, but I am going to anyway, because I am finding myself totally mesmerised by this story, so if you see it around, check it out.


Tracey said...

Bother! Not in the library. I will certainly keep an eye out for it, as I, too, am in the hunt for a book that will get me in.

Jay said...

Well I've finished it a short while ago and quite loved it also.

gautami tripathy said...

I am on a readng spree too. Posting book reviews on my reading room blog. Plan to finish at least 15 books within the next 40 odd days.

I won't post reviews of all I read though...!!