Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

I'm a little speechless on even where to start with this book. I think my mouth fell open from page one and didn't shut until page 288. My friend Amy bought this book for me as a birthday gift last year and I finally got around to picking it up. But once I did, it was hard to put down - well except for the times I needed to take a deep & cleansing breath. It was a lot to digest, let me tell ya. If anything, this book proves that we can literally become who we want to be and our past or upbringing does not need to define who we are. I am completely astounded at the drive and strength of Jeannette Walls and her siblings to be successful, educated and independent. Too many times society and individuals cast blame for their problems on the parents who've raised them or the surroundings they were raised in. If you hapepn to believe this, then I challenge you to read The Glass Castle, it will blow your mind.

Description: Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. 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 fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.

True Colors by Kristin Hannah

I'm already a sucker for books about three sisters, being as how I have two sisters of my own, but this book truly does not disappoint! I've often enjoyed Kristin Hannah, she is just one of those authors you know you can trust will deliver and you don't even have to read the inside cover to know you will immediately devour it.

I immediately connected to the family relationships and felt as if I completely understood where each family member came from and why they made the decisions that they did. There was so much detail, but not so much that it became mundane or boring. And though the storyline was intense at times, it had bits of humor woven throughout that kept it light and entertaining. One message the author highlighted that I so loved, was the difficulty in doing the right thing even when it may cost you the ones you hold so dear. I enjoyed every minute, it was an incredibly story of grace, unconditional love, forgiveness, passion and the strength of family.

I actually wish this was book one of a trilogy, because I fell so in love with the sisters and their families that I wanted to know what life looked like after I closed the last page.

Description: True Colors is New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah’s most provocative, compelling, and heart-wrenching story yet. With the luminous writing and unforgettable characters that are her trademarks, she tells the story of three sisters whose once-solid world is broken apart by jealousy, betrayal, and the kind of passion that rarely comes along.

The Grey sisters have always been close. After their mother’s death, the girls banded together, becoming best friends. Their stern, disapproving father cares less about his children than about his reputation. To Henry Grey, appearances are everything, and years later, he still demands that his daughters reflect his standing in the community.

Winona, the oldest, needs her father’s approval most of all. An overweight bookworm who never felt at home on the sprawling horse ranch that has been in her family for three generations, she knows that she doesn’t have the qualities her father values. But as the best lawyer in town, she’s determined to someday find a way to prove her worth to him.

Aurora, the middle sister, is the family peacemaker. She brokers every dispute and tries to keep them all happy, even as she hides her own secret pain.

Vivi Ann is the undisputed star of the family. A stunningly beautiful dreamer with a heart as big as the ocean in front of her house, she is adored by all who know her. Everything comes easily for Vivi Ann, until a stranger comes to town...

In a matter of moments, everything will change. The Grey sisters will be pitted against one another in ways that none could have imagined. Loyalties will be tested and secrets revealed, and a terrible, shocking crime will shatter both their family and their beloved town.

With breathtaking pace and penetrating emotional insight, True Colors is an unforgettable novel about sisters, rivalry, forgiveness, redemption---and ultimately, what it means to be a family.

Rating: ****

Recommend: I highly recommend, its just an overall feel good book!