Sunday, November 13, 2011

Walls Again

I went to pick up The Glass Castle and it wasn't on the shelves for reserved books which is not unusual since I sometimes notice that a book has arrived before the staff has had a chance to put it in its proper place.

The clerk went to look in the back. No book. He went to look on the shelf and I was glad when he didn't find it because I would have been embarrassed by an oversight.

He went to the back to look again and found it. Someone had put it to the side because it had been damaged by water.

Did I want to wait for another copy of the book? No, I did not. He marked it as damaged and I went on my way.

I have the urge to sum up this book in two words: rough childhood -- the kind that you hope that no child has to survive. It's the kind of childhood (part of it) when the switch is flipped and the children are more parent-like than the parents.

I was moved to tears when the author decides to move to New York (before graduating from high school) to join her older sister. The scene that got me is when she says goodbye to her father and gets on the bus.

Another scene that moved me is when the family, because of legal trouble, heads to Phoenix. Walls is looking forward to seeing her grandmother (the subject of Half Broke Horses) when she's told of her grandmother's death.

I couldn't believe I'd been sitting there thinking about Grandma Smith, looking forward to eating Cream of Wheat and having her comb my hair and cuss, and all along she'd been dead. I started hitting Mom on the shoulder, hard, and asking why she hadn't told us. (92)
Even though Walls wrote The Glass Castle before Half Broke Horses, I'm glad that I read them in the order that I did.

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