I just finished reading Jeannette Walls’ memoir about her childhood, Glass Castle. A friend pointed me in its direction after I was complaining about having a bad streak of books that couldn’t keep my attention. Glass Castle was promised to be that book that was engaging, easy to read, and not too long. All of those promises are true, and some. Walls’ depiction of her constantly on the move youth, being raised by an "aspiring" artist mother and a brilliant, yet flawed, alcoholic father is written in an unfathomably non-judgmental fashion. She writes as a spectator about such personal events like a life-threatening burn, an unwittingly close call with prostitution, deplorable housing conditions, and more, all at the hands of her parents. The most amazing part of it all is the fact that not only did Wells survive her childhood, which is no small feat, but that she is looking at it through the lens of a successful adult life. Did all that free time in youth, unattended to by parents, result in some way to her success?
Reading this book definitely made me feel a little less stressed about my parenting, in an odd way, as I inadvertently drew comparisons to that of the Wells'. Like that fall my youngest took into the coffee table last week, it looks like nothing now compared to tales of children falling out of moving vehicles. And I definitely feel less guilty about vegging in front of the computer for a couple minutes during the day, while (god forbid) my children entertain themselves. Although I will never agree with the parenting (or lack thereof) of Rex and Rose Mary, I do think there’s something to reflect on. Do we pay too much attention to our children’s needs these days, making them a little less self-reliant in the long run? Did you read this book? How do you feel?