Friday, April 26, 2013

Blogging A to Z: W is for Jeannette Walls

Welcome to the Blogging From A to Z Challenge!

My theme for 2013 is Influential Women Authors.

My definition of influential is any author, classic or modern, who has inspired writers, readers, or the larger scope of culture. Some are personal favorites, or have special meaning to me.

What this list is not: a list of the most influential writers of all time. Rather, this is a collection of influential writers, corresponding with each day's letter.

For the full list of participating blogs, click here.

W: The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls
image: Goodreads

The Glass Castle is a wonderfully written, although disturbing, memoir. The author is a mainstream columnist, but most of her colleagues had no idea of her bizarre upbringing by intelligent but highly neglectful parents. This memoir details her family's struggles as they move from town to town like vagrants, the children fending for themselves while their father drank away their grocery money, and their mother longed for a childless existence where she could paint.

The way this story is told is why she is so influential to me. She tells of horrifying experiences with a child's wonder, and her tenacity and will to survive bleeds through on every page. You can't help but have your heart melt when a teacher takes notice of her dirty clothes and shows her special attention, recognizing she's a bright girl despite her circumstances.

If this book sounds like too much of a downer, I highly suggest her companion novel Half Broke Horses, which is about her grandmother's life, told in a first person narrative; the genre lands somewhere between biography and fiction. Her grandmother rode hundreds of miles across the desert by horseback for a teaching job. You can see glimpses of how much her grandmother tried to save the author's mother, but ultimately could not help her daughter from her mental illness. It's wonderful to see the admiration the author has for her grandmother through the pages. And after reading The Glass Castle, it's refreshing to see that she had a worthy influence in her family.


  1. I read a ton of speculative fiction of all sorts, but every once in awhile, I'll pick up some kind of autobiography/memoir. I will check this out.


    (new follower)

  2. I have THE GLASS CASTLE on my TBR list but I wasn't planning on adding HORSES - now, I will! :)

    I don't read a ton of nonfiction but occasionally something strikes me.

  3. This is one of my favorite books ever! I haven't read Horses yet, but I do have it.


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